Meru Health, a Y Combinator company currently participating in the Texas Medical Center TMCx Accelerator in Houston has raised $4.2 million in seed funding from Freestyle Capital, Bonit Capital, Y Combinator, Lifeline Ventures, and IT-Farm. The seed funding will be used to advance its mobile phone-based digital clinic for depression and anxiety and support additional clinical validation. Peer-reviewed data of this intervention found a significant reduction in depression symptoms as well as close to 80% program completion rate.
Digital Clinic for Greater Mental Health
Affecting more than 25 million people annually in the U.S. alone, depression is the leading cause of disability, and yet less than 50 percent of those affected have access to care. That’s where Meru Health comes in. Meru Health is a digital clinic for greater mental health with remote clinicians (licensed therapists & psychiatrists), anonymous peer-group and a 12-week digital therapeutic treatment program. Meru’s program consists of continuous remote clinician support, at-home therapeutic lessons and practices (e.g. cognitive behavioral therapy and mindfulness) as well as sleep medicine and nutritional psychiatry for a complete solution to healing depression and anxiety. Meru Health has offices in Palo Alto, California, and Helsinki, Finland.
Pilot Program with Palo Alto Medical Foundation
Meru Health collaborates with employers, health systems and health plans with a unique outcomes-based business model. To date, the company has successfully deployed the technology at Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and has pilot programs ongoing with two Silicon Valley Fortune 100 companies. A clinical trial with Stanford and the Veteran’s Administration is currently underway.
“Although evidence-based treatments for depression exist, many people do not access them or wait several years before seeking treatment. Digital mental health interventions may help people with depression and other mental health conditions get treatment more easily. Our current study with Meru Health is testing their digital mental health intervention in middle-aged and older adults with the hope to demonstrate whether individuals across the lifespan benefit from these interventions,” said Christine Gould, Ph.D., ABPP, an investigator at VA Palo Alto Health Care System and an Instructor (affiliated) at Stanford University School of Medicine.
Peer-Reviewed Clinical Validation & Outcomes
Meru Health has published strong clinical outcomes in a peer-reviewed medical journal. Peer-reviewed data from a 117-patient clinical trial of the Meru Health intervention was published online in JMIR earlier this year. The researchers found a significant reduction in depression symptoms as well as close to 80% program completion rate. The study also determined that a higher number of days of practice significantly predicted lower residual depression symptoms, and greater group chat use predicted reduced depressive symptoms.
“All of us at Meru Health is excited to have Freestyle and the other esteemed investors join our seed round. This financing comes at a time of important company milestones and will enable us to continue on our growth trajectory,” said Kristian Ranta, co-founder, and CEO of Meru Health. “The publication of the results of a 117-person clinical trial of the Meru Health digital therapeutic program demonstrating high completion and compliance rates with significant reduction in depression provides important evidence points for our approach. We are currently running a clinical trial with Stanford and the Veteran’s Administration and we are also in active discussions with several health plans and insurers.