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[StartupRecipe] Pharmaceuticals Have Their Eyes On Digital Therapeutics Startups

#Weekly Funding Overview

[Nov. 21 ~ Nov. 25]

The total funds raised by Korean startups of this week is KRW 207billion.

roovookHotel offsite reservation-Pre-Series AStrong Ventures
RunupcompanyContent-Series AKnet Investment, Crit Ventures
Dreesoft.5.5 billionSeries ABI Investment, E&Venture Partners, DA Value Investment, Evergreen Investment Partners
YOIDDANGProphtech206.6 millionSeedDaegu CCEI
Exosphere LabsPC Security1.2 billionPrimer Sazze Partners
Paradigm shiftFitness400 millionSeedBass Investment
HaiiDigital therapeutics7.5 billionSeries BCJ Investment, Gene & Investment Partners, Dongwha
Awexome RayCarbon Nanotube17 billionSeries BGS Ventures, Hyundai Investment Partners, Shinhan Asset Management, Quantum Venture Korea, BNK Venture Investment, Envisioning partners
UnderwriterInsuretech1 billionSeedSeoul Techno Holdings, Strong Ventures, Korea University Holdings
GlobaleurTravel3.6 billionPre-Series AKnet Investment
Coditlaw searching5 billionPre-Series AAtinum Investment, Premier Partners
JNPMEDIHealthcare14 billionSeries APavilion Capital, Kakao Ventures, Murex Partners, Aju IB Investment, Gentium Partners
LifegoesonLaundary49 billionSeries CH&Q Korea, Pebbles Asset Management, KB Securities, Hanwha Investment & Securities, Musinsa, Altos Ventures, Aju IB Investment, Softbank Ventures, KB Investment
XYZServing Robot10 billionSeries AMagna Investment, Korea Investment Partners, Hyundai Motor Group Zero One, Bilanx Investment, Samsung Venture Investment, Humax
HyperloungeManagement analystic10.6 billionSeries A
The pirates16 billionSeries CSV Investment, Woori Bank, Kiwoom Securities, Yuanta Investment, KDB Development Bank, Timeworks Investment, L&S Venture Capital

Major Funding

  • LifeGoesOn, which runs a laundry service Laundrygo, has received a KRW 49 billion Series C investment. Even with COVID-19, its sales grew 300% per year on average. Sales nearly tripled compared to 2021 as it entered the unmanned smart laundry and hotel laundry market last year.
  • The Pirates, an online marketplace for seafood, has secured KRW 16 billion in Series C investment. The company now has a KRW 100 billion market value. It began in 2013 as an informative blog on fish markets and pursued innovation in the seafood distribution structure.
  • AweXome Ray has raised KRW 17 billion in a Series B funding round. It has developed a technology to mass-produce carbon nanotubes in the form of fibers. The company manufactures a variety of industrial equipment based on this technology, including low-dose X-rays for medical use, multi-energy based inspection, and indoor air sterilization and purification devices.

#Trend Analysis

Pharmaceuticals Have Their Eyes On Digital Therapeutics Startups

While investment in the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry has shrunk significantly this year, companies in digital healthcare, especially digital therapeutics, have successfully won investors with their high growth potential. Digital therapeutics is a new form of treatment that employs apps, games, and VR instead of using drugs to prevent and manage diseases. 

The government is also paying attention to digital therapeutics. It released regulations for the licensing of digital therapeutics in 2020 and supported businesses in boosting their competitiveness. Strategic investors like venture capital and pharmaceuticals take notice of startups in digital therapeutics due to their rapid growth. Compared to last year, this year saw a greater number of related startups emerge and draw more funding. We looked at the new digital therapeutics startups and their products.

Emocog secured the most funds last year, raising KRW 15 billion a year after its establishment. It produces digital therapeutics for mild cognitive impairment. Its product, Cogthera, is an app that monitors MCI patients’ cognitive function and offers customized cognitive training. Clinical trials are underway in Korea, the United States, and Europe. Additionally receiving KRW 7.5 billion, Haii is creating digital therapeutics with a focus on the treatment for generalized anxiety disorder known as Anzeilax. Its app for Anzeilax diagnosis is being supplied to the KMI Medical Checkup Center. It also creates ForMe for kids with ADHD and Alzguard to diagnose and treat dementia.

Rowan has raised KRW 6 billion with digital therapeutics for brain diseases. Founded in 2017, Rowan has developed Superbrain, a digital cognitive intervention program, and is promoting clinical trials. Cognitive intervention therapy is a program that can slow down Alzheimer’s disease by  stimulating the brain through mental exercise or problem-solving to enhance cognitive abilities. In the past, medical staff had assisted in problem-solving, but Rowan digitized it and made it into an app.

Initially specializing in medical smartbelts, Welt now focuses on digital therapeutics, making digital treatments for insomnia. It gathers biometric information via apps, offers sleep schedules, and advises you on the proper amount of sleep and lifestyle. Following KRW 6 billion last year and KRW 5 billion earlier this year, the company completed a series B investment for KRW 11 billion. It has completed clinical trials for insomnia treatment and now gears up for the approval process. 

Hippo T&C is gaining attention with its ADHD diagnostic technology and treatment. It has developed an attention care solution that can diagnose ADHD using VR devices and provide training for improving concentration and controlling excessive behavior. AI examines data on eye, hand, and body movements. It is said that after the development phase is over, the clinical trial will start. In addition, ClickSound, set up by an oral physician, is creating a digital treatment device for jaw joint diseases. 

Korea’s first digital therapies may be available by the end of this year as Emocog, Haii, and Welt have all received approval for pivotal studies, and Welt is ready for product approval. Even though there are still problems to be resolved, like the application of health insurance benefits, interest will remain high as the use of digital medicines spreads to various industries.

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