Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma expands BehaVR partnership - BehaVR logo 1

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The blockbuster agreement between Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and BehaVR is likely one of the largest ever struck for VR therapeutics

Quick read

➨ Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is investing up to $163 million in new VR therapeutics for treating anxiety and depression
➨ The company struck the deal with BehaVR
➨ Under the terms of the agreement, BehaVR will receive $5 million in upfront payments and up to $18 million in development milestone and research and development support payments
➨ Up to $140 million in milestone payments will be made to BehaVR if the VR therapeutics prove to be a commercial success

The story

Pharmaceutical company Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma is investing up to $163 million in new virtual reality (VR) therapeutics for treating anxiety and depression.

The Osaka, Japan-headquartered pharma company has struck the deal with BehaVR, the digital therapeutics company based in Nashville, Tennessee, USA, using VR to treat a range of anxiety-related challenges and disorders.

Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma will fund development of and commercialise new VR therapeutics for treating social anxiety, generalised anxiety and major depressive disorders.

Under the terms of the agreement, BehaVR will receive $5 million in upfront payments and up to $18 million in development milestone and research and development support payments, in addition to commercial and operational support fees.

Up to $140 million in milestone payments will be made to BehaVR if the VR therapeutics prove to be a commercial success. In addition, it will receive tiered royalties on global sales.

The blockbuster agreement, likely one of the largest ever struck for VR therapeutics, builds on the partnership developed between Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s US subsidiary, Sunovion Pharmaceuticals, and BehaVR in June 2020.

They began co-developing a wellness product for those who suffer from stressful, fearful, and overwhelming feelings in a social setting. Watch the video below to learn more about BehaVR’s offering.

Based on that work, along with the 20-year body of research that Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma says shows that the application of VR can be used in support of better patient outcomes, the companies are already pursuing US Food and Drug Administration approval for three products that treat social anxiety, generalised anxiety, and major depressive disorders.

Hiroyuki Baba, senior executive officer at Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma, says the pharma company is making this investment in digital therapeutics because “there is inadequate access to high quality mental health therapists in every country across the world”.

Baba continues: “Our goal is to deliver high-impact digital VR therapies that are evidence-based to a broad global population of patients that continue to struggle with social anxiety, generalised anxiety and major depressive disorders.”

“We are excited and proud to be pioneering the use of this fast-moving new medium of virtual reality to develop treatments for anxiety and depression related mental illnesses. I could not be more pleased with this extension to our important partnership with BehaVR, who share our vision of the impact that these new products will make.”

Aaron Gani, founder and chief executive officer of BehaVR, adds: “Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma’s clinical and commercial expertise in this space will advance our joint objective of successfully scaling effective treatment options for anxiety and depression.”

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Image: BehaVR

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