MSK disease, or musculoskeletal disorder, is one of the leading causes of chronic pain and disability, affecting more than 2 billion people worldwide and affecting 50 percent of Americans. In the United States, MSK treatment costs even more than cancer and mental health combined, accounting for one-sixth of the total U.S. healthcare market spending, and is the highest cost driver of healthcare spending, totaling more than $100 billion.
Current treatment recommendations for MSK suggest that physical, psychological, and social aspects are most effective in addressing multiple aspects of pain, and treatment is recommended before relying on medication, imaging and surgery. However, most patients do not receive adequate care, leading to unnecessary and even overuse of opioids and surgery.
There is a gap between the need for physiotherapy and the rapid development of society. People still rely heavily on one-on-one therapy interactions, but one-to-one is not a scalable business model. Realistic physical therapy is too expensive and difficult to achieve for most people.
How to solve this problem, digital physical therapy company SWORD Health has their solution.
Sword Health is a digital telephysical therapy service startup in Portugal, based on self-developed motion sensors, capable of collecting patients’ movement data and enabling patients to communicate online with digital therapists, digital therapists provide real-time feedback to guide patients to complete rehabilitation courses, provide personalized guidance training, and enable patients to complete rehabilitation programs at home.
SWORD Health announced that it has completed an $85 million Series C funding round, led by General Catalyst and joined by BOND, Highmark Ventures, BPEA, Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Transformation Capital and Green Innovations. The proceeds will be used to build the MSK platform, which will leverage SWORD Health’s virtual physical therapy program to deliver significant cost savings to users.
According to Crunchbase, SWORD Health has raised $134.5 million in seven rounds so far.
On April 27, 2015, SWORD Health received approval from the European Commission for a grant of €1.3 million as part of the horizon 2020 SME support programme. SWORD Health is the first startup to enter the second phase of the program.
On July 1, 2015, SWORD Health received €1.3 million in grant funding from the European Union’s Small and Medium Enterprise Executive (EASME).
On April 16, 2018, SWORD Health received $4.6 million in seed funding from Green Innovations, Vesalius Biocapital III and select anonymous investors. The funds received are used to accelerate the development of new digital therapeutics and drive the growth of the company’s business.
On April 16, 2019, SWORD Health received $8 million in Series A funding, led by Khosla Ventures, which was not disclosed by other investors. SWORD Health uses these funds to further advance the clinical validation of the Company’s products, continue to improve the products from an engineering perspective, expand the Company’s business, expand its footprint in North America, and bring the platform to more homes.
On February 27, 2020, SWORD Health received $9 million in Series A funding. The round was led by Khosla Ventures and joined by Founders Fund, Green Innovations, Lachy Groom, Vesalius biocital and Faber Ventures. So far, SWORD Health has received a total of $17 million in Series A financing.
On January 29, 2021, SWORD Health received $25 million in Series B funding. The round was led by Todd Cozzens, managing partner of Transformation Capital and a former healthcare investor at Sequoia Capital. Existing investors Khosla Ventures, Founders Fund, Green Innovations, Vesalius biocital and Faber also participated in the investment. This round of funding brings SWORD Health’s cumulative fundraising to $50 million. Just six months later, SWORD Health received $85 million in Series C funding.
Image credit: Crunchbase
Successive infusions of funds were driven by SWORD Health’s significant commercial success in 2020, with the company’s revenue growing 8x and active users increasing nearly 5x in 2020, making it one of the fastest growing providers of virtual musculoskeletal care services. SWORD Health said it will use the funds to enhance product capabilities, expand industry partnerships, and drive adoption in the benefits administration ecosystem with users, health plans, and alliance partners.
In recent years, the number of patients with chronic pain such as cancer pain and migraine has increased year by year, as well as the aging population, etc., driving the market demand of the global pain management industry to continue to grow in the next decade. According to a research report by Brisk Insights, a British market consulting firm, the global pain management drugs and medical devices market reached $37.8 billion in 2015 and is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 4.3% from 2015 to 2022, reaching $50.8 billion in 2022.
According to incomplete statistics from the Arterial Orange database, from 2010 to June 15, 2020, there were a total of 58 financing events for companies related to digital therapy for pain.
From a global perspective, pain digital therapy investment and financing projects reached a small peak in 2014, and in 2017, the popularity of domestic digital health concepts increased, and there were more financing projects. The capital market for digital therapy for pain was also active in the first half of 2020.
In the United States alone, the field of pain management in the United States is currently showing a fierce competitive situation, and a large number of different types of companies have emerged. From the perspective of investment, most of the more optimistic capital are digital therapy companies, and representative companies such as Hinge Health, Kaia Health, N1-Headache, etc. stand out. Hinge Health and Kaia Health mainly target musculoskeletal (MSK) pain, such as low back pain, knee pain, etc.; N1-Headache is mainly for migraines. Most digital therapeutics pain management companies are relatively more focused on the chronic pain segment.
SWEORD Health also focuses on MSK care, but unlike Hinge and Kaia, SWORD Health combines Hinge’s business model with Kaia’s family-based exercise program to develop its product business and expand the scope and depth of its business services.
For one, SWORD Health also references Hinge’s B2B2C model. That is, introduce its own products to major companies, including welfare institutions, etc., provide digital MSK solutions for the healthcare plans of major companies, and then bring the products to users through the healthcare plans of major companies.
In 2021, SWORD Health partnered with Portico Benefit Services, a welfare agency. SWORD Health provides the Digital Therapy Program for Musculoskeletal Pain for the agency’s ELCA – Primary Health Benefit Program.
In 2020, SWORD Health partnered with BridgeHealth, a center of excellence project provider, to provide home therapy (PT). Members who need surgery can receive online pre-rehabilitation/rehabilitation support from SWORD Health, further improving surgical outcomes, reducing complications and shortening time to return to work.
Second, the SWORD Health team developed a “digital physical therapist”. Sword Health uses “high-precision motion tracking” sensors, combined with the latest artificial intelligence technology, to extend the reach of physical therapy. Recognized the shortage of physiotherapists worldwide. Its flagship product, Sword Phoenix, offers patients interactive rehabilitation and is supervised by a remote physiotherapist.
By connecting the motion sensor to the corresponding position of the patient’s body, combined with AI drive, real-time motion data can be obtained and provided with immediate feedback, which the physiotherapist can then guide through. With Sword Phoenix, medical teams can extend their treatment to each patient’s home and have time to reach more patients.
SWORD Health’s research verified that its user satisfaction rate was 93%, user surgical intent decreased by 64%, user cost savings were 34%, and the company’s developed therapy was 30% more effective than traditional PT therapy. SWORD Health Home Care Therapy has been experimentally proven to be superior to the current standard of care of traditional physiotherapy for MSK disease and is the only solution that provides rehabilitation for chronic, acute and post-surgical conditions of the lower back, shoulders, neck, knees, elbows, hips, ankles, wrists and lungs.
Looking at the results of SWORD Health’s partnership with Danaher Health and Wellbeing Partnership, according to Amy Broghammmer, Danaher Health and Welfare Manager, SWORD Health’s solution has worked well among her colleagues. “After 12 weeks, we saw an 80 percent reduction in surgical intent, a 49 percent reduction in pain, and a 72 percent increase in productivity.”
Sword Health is currently working further with insurance companies, national health services, health maintenance organizations and healthcare providers in Europe, Australia and the United States. The company has offices in New York, Chicago, Salt Lake City, Sydney and Porto.
However, we should also note that this segment is at the forefront, with SWORD Health’s biggest competitor, Hinge Health, previously valued at $3 billion. According to SWORD Health co-founder Virgílio Bento, SWORD Health is valued at more than $500 million.
However, Bento believes that “these are two completely different practices on how to build a healthcare company,” noting that SWORD Health has focused on developing its own sensors for the first four years. “What we want to do more is reinvest all the gross profits generated to build a platform that provides more value to patients.”
Copyright © Zhang Yiying. All rights reserved.
Post time: Jan-09-2023