Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Signs Virtual Reality-Based DTx Agreement With BehaVR



Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co. in Japan and the American behavioral health company BehaVR have signed definitive agreements to develop and commercialize general wellness products and digital prescription therapies for the treatment of major mental health disorders.


Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is engaged in the research and development of new pharmaceutical products in the fields of psychiatry and neurology, oncology and cell therapy. BehaVR, meanwhile, creates DTx prescriptions backed by decades of neuroscience and cognitive, evidence-based protocols.

The companies initially collaborated in June of last year. They jointly developed a wellness product for those who experience “stressful, fearful and overwhelming” feelings in a social setting.

As part of their recently signed agreements, Sumitomo will fund the development and commercialization of three new virtual reality-based therapies for the treatment of social anxiety disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and major depressive disorder.

He pledged to make BehaVR $ 5 million in upfront payments; up to $ 18 million in development milestone payments and R&D support, in addition to business and operational support costs; and up to $ 140 million in milestone payments contingent on business success. In addition, BehaVR will receive tiered royalties on worldwide sales of DTx products.

These organizations will also seek US FDA approval for digital therapies they intend to classify as software as a medical device.


It is evident that the current COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety. Both diseases are major contributors to the global global burden of disease and the surge in drug abuse.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and BehaVR stressed the need for new approaches to address these issues. The companies said they believe virtual reality support will transform access to care and fuel the delivery of next-generation anxiety and depression treatment to patients.


In October, Scotland began offering its adult population free access to Big Health’s DTx for Anxiety and Insomnia via the NHS. They have the right to receive cognitive behavioral therapy through the Daylight and Sleepio apps.

In July of this year, Happify Health has launched its first DTx prescribed for depression and anxiety. App-based therapy called Ensemble helps patients develop new skills and habits to manage their cognition using cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness, and other techniques provided through sequenced modules.

Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Click Therapeutics this year also launched a remote clinical trial for a DTx depression platform.

Meanwhile, in Japan, the startup CureApp has developed a DTx app for hypertension to help people maintain lifestyle improvements as part of their treatment. Recently, he disclosed the results of a landmark clinical trial for said application, revealing its effectiveness in reducing the risk of heart disease.


“Access to high quality mental health therapists is insufficient in all countries of the world. Our goal is to provide evidence-based, high-impact digital virtual reality therapies to a large global patient population who continue to struggle with SAD, GAD, and MDD, ”said Hiroyuki Baba, Senior Executive, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma.

“We are excited to deepen our relationship to jointly increase our health impact through clinically validated and FDA approved tests. [VR]- digital based therapies. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s clinical and commercial expertise in this area will advance our shared goal of successfully developing effective treatment options for anxiety and depression, ”said BehaVR Founder and CEO Aaron Gani.



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