- Big Health has bought Limbix to add a treatment for adolescent depression to its portfolio of digital therapeutics.
- The app, SparkRx, uses self-guided, cognitive behavioral therapy to teach skills such as mood tracking, behavioral activation, problem solving and mindfulness.
- Limbix last raised money in a $15 million financing round in December 2021. The acquisition comes during a trough in digital health funding that has seen sector pioneer Pear Therapeutics go bankrupt.
Limbix is part of a group of startups that sees mobile apps as a way to allow more patients to access therapy. The San Francisco-based company began selling its first app in October 2021, using the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s COVID-19 enforcement policy for psychiatric digital health devices to make the product available to people ages 13 to 22 years.
The enforcement policy allowed Limbix to sell the app as a device despite it not being cleared or approved by the FDA. With the FDA policy scheduled to end on Nov. 7, Limbix has decided to sell itself to Big Health for a publicly undisclosed amount.
Big Health is another provider of digital therapeutics for mental health conditions. Like Limbix, the company used the FDA enforcement policy to market products without receiving clearance or approval. Big Health sells products aimed at adults: Sleepio, an insomnia app, and Daylight, an anxiety therapy. In accordance with the enforcement policy, it was allowed to collect data on real-world use.
In a blog post, Big Health CEO Arun Gupta said the acquisition means that the company “goes to market with an expanded digital therapeutic platform that covers the most common mental health needs,” and that the takeover also includes a pipeline featuring an adolescent anxiety product that it expects to bring to market.
Big Health raised a $75 million series C round in January 2022. The company planned to use the money to launch six new digital therapeutics by 2024. Cigna’s Evernorth added Daylight and Sleepio to its Digital Health Formulary last year.