Berlin, Germany-based digital health company Cara Care, announced today that it has secured $7 million in Series A funding led by Johnson & Johnson Innovation – JJDC, Inc. (JJDC) and Barcelona-based VC firm Asabys Partners with participation from existing investor Atlantic Labs. Cara Care was part of the Microsoft Accelerator and winner of the GlaxoSmithKline Transforming the Future of Self-Care Challenge in the category “Digital Health Technologies.” Cara Care has raised more than $9 Million in funding to date.
Economic Impact of Gastrointestinal Disease
Annual healthcare expenditures for gastrointestinal disease in the United States total an estimated $136 billion, which is more than that for heart disease ($113 billion), trauma ($103 billion), and mental health ($99 billion). Though often unseen, these diseases can cause a lifetime of physical and mental suffering for patients, in many cases beginning at a young age. Even with costly medication under the care of a GI specialist, digestive diseases can cause mental health challenges, social stigma, and loss of productivity and wages for sufferers.
Digital Therapeutic App for Digestive Diseases
Founded in 2016 by André Sommer and Jesaja Brinkmann, Cara Care developed its digital app to span medication management, dietary and mental health interventions to improve gastrointestinal health. In 2018, the company extended its offer in Germany to offer paid remote medical nutrition therapy, which is already subsidized by 90 percent of German health insurance companies. In this market, certified nutritionists advise patients in a series of telemedical sessions, which increases flexibility and efficiency for both the company and the patient.
The Cara Care digital therapeutic app for digestive diseases spans medication management as well as dietary and mental health interventions to improve gastrointestinal health. The app – available for iOS and Android – helps fill the gaps between doctor visits for gastrointestinal disease patients. To date, Cara Care has helped more than 400,000 people in Germany and the U.S. manage the symptoms of digestive diseases such as IBS, IBD, GERD, food intolerances, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis, with a 78.8 percent treatment success rate.
Cara Care Expansion Plans
Proceeds will be used to expand the market launch of the company’s Cara Care mobile companion app for people suffering from digestive health issues (#1 on the App Store in this category), with a primary focus on the United States. In addition to the market expansion of the app, Cara Care plans to use the Series A funding to conduct additional scientific research to better understand digestive diseases, symptom triggers and flare-up causes. Concurrently, the company is working to expand existing partnerships and create new ones with other important players in the patient journey, including those in the pharmaceutical, diagnostic laboratories, and food manufacturing industries.
Why It Matters
“We believe mobile software can have a significant therapeutic effect on these patients, as GI diseases are highly influenced by factors such as diet, stress, mental health and physical activity,” said Cara Care’s André Sommer, M.D. “By identifying individual triggers for symptoms and flares, we can tailor interventions to reduce symptoms and improve the patient’s quality of life. Based on the health and lifestyle data, it is further possible to optimize medication intake, increase adherence and match the right therapy with the right patient.”