Virtual Reality (VR) technology has progressed immensely in recent years, impacting various sectors, especially the medical industry. However, most people these days equate VR to video games and other forms of entertainment. The technology’s medical use-cases, although lacking the limelight, are perhaps the most beneficial and incorporate medical education, managing chronic pain and a lot of other scenarios.
Belgian startup Oncomfort specialises in ‘Digital Sedation’ – a novel method for relieving patients’ pain and anxiety through treatment with therapeutic Virtual Reality; and it just raised €10M in Series A funding.
Raised €10M to further develop digital sedation
Brussels-based Oncomfort has raised €10M Series A funding round co-led by Debiopharm and Crédit Mutuel Innovation. The investment includes support from Wallonia Innovation and Growth (W.IN.G) and the existing investors. Both institutional investors will join Oncomfort’s newly composed Board of Directors. The company intends to use the funding to develop its digital therapy solutions further and accelerate its international expansion.
“We are at a tipping point in our digital therapy,” says Mario Huyghe, CEO of Oncomfort. “The medical community has discovered the advantages and potential of ‘Digital Sedation’ to relieve pain and anxiety without medication. Virtual Reality acts as an enabler for this digital therapy. Yet, Oncomfort’s true potential comes from the scientific evidence of its digital sedation and the multidisciplinary co-creation with the expertise of anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychologists, and hypnotherapists. With this Series A funding, we will accelerate our product development with a broader engineering team and invest in the international expansion of Oncomfort.”
“Our investment in Oncomfort’s digital sedation solution is based on the strong potential of digital therapeutics as well as the specific intellectual property and scientific evidence that Oncomfort has built over recent years,” continued Karine Lignel, CEO of Crédit Mutuel Innovation.
“With this investment in Oncomfort, we want to push the boundaries to inspire healthcare stakeholders to acknowledge that there is much more we can do for patients through digital technology,” said Tanja Dowe, CEO of Debiopharm Innovation Fund.
How Oncomfort achieves this?
Founded in 2017 by Diane Jooris, and Joowon Kim, the startup specialises in ‘Digital Sedation’, which, according to the company, is a novel method for relieving patients’ pain and anxiety through treatment with clinically proven sessions of therapeutic Virtual Reality.
The company launched ‘Sedakit’, a portable solution that dissociates patients from the clinical environment. The startup claims that the procedure ranges from light sedation (distraction) to deep sedation (dissociation) and is accessible for both adults and children for a wide range of medical interventions.
Helped over 30,000 patients
Ever since the launch of the Sedakit in Benelux and France in June 2019, over 30,000 patients have been treated with this solution.
Interestingly, studies have found VR to be effective as an addition to anesthesia to reduce pain and anxiety for patients. The VR immersion is designed to provide patients with a relaxing virtual environment to fight anxiety. The University of Washington has already developed virtual reality therapy of this sort – SnowWorld, a snowy virtual environment that helps burn victims to cope with their pain.
Main image credits: Oncomfort