Portfolio News7/15/19

Better health, gut first: Our investment in Vivante Health

Over the last few years, digital therapeutics have emerged as clinically-validated solutions to address a slew of chronic diseases and acute conditions. Along the way, we’ve been fortunate to invest in and support a number of the leading digital therapeutic companies pushing the boundaries for regulatory approvals and clinical outcomes. Today we’re thrilled to announce our newest investment in another digital therapeutic trailblazer, Vivante Health: the first all-in-one digital solution for digestive health and complex inflammatory conditions.

“All disease begins in the gut”—at least that’s what Hippocrates surmised around 2,000 years ago. While we now know there are many factors at play, we at Rock Health remain convinced that the successful management of one’s digestive health has a significant impact on medical well-being and the inflammatory responses that drive a number of diseases.

70M Americans have a gut disorder—twice the number of those living with diabetes—and nearly 75% of people deal with digestive symptoms on a regular basis. Those living with certain digestive health conditions are more likely to suffer from other chronic conditions, including comorbid mental health diagnoses. While employers increasingly offer programs for other chronic conditions, digestive health remains a taboo topic with few covered solutions for those suffering from complex inflammatory conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), Crohn’s disease, and ulcerative colitis, among others.

That’s where Vivante comes in—and why we’re incredibly excited by the company’s potential to radically improve the patient experience while removing costs from the healthcare system. Vivante’s science-driven, comprehensive, and personalized solution, GIThrive, is comprised of:

  • Microbiome testing and real-time remote gut health monitoring via a connected non-invasive sensor that measures digestive activity through a simple breath test
  • 24/7, on-demand gut-side assistance from a coordinated care team of health coaches, dietitians, pharmacists, and nurses
  • Personalized nutrition based on a user’s preferences, care team recommendations, and data-driven feedback over time

Vivante is uniquely positioned to target the root cause of digestive health issues, whether clinical, nutritional, and/or behavioral. The wraparound solution provides a comprehensive care program for each individual user, which includes behavioral health support, therapeutic nutrition and diet education, and drug optimization based on inflammatory response. They use this holistic approach because, as with most complex health conditions, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution. And while Vivante uses technology to deliver the tools to its users, the human interaction is crucial. Care teams engage with GIThrive users early and often to drive clinical outcomes.

Vivante is tackling two key pain points experienced by patients, employers, and health plans. First, the specialty drugs available to treat digestive health conditions are very costly, and in many cases, the response rates to these biologics are low—leaving patients with nowhere to turn for treatments they desperately need. Second, digestive health drives significant costs to employers and health plans through medical claims and other downstream effects, including loss of productivity and absenteeism in the workplace. From ambulatory care visits to hospitalizations, about $136B is spent each year on gut-related medical claims—that’s more than the cost of heart disease, mental health, or trauma.

Most employers aren’t aware of just how enormous these expenses are because gut-related claims are often buried in the “other” category. Vivante analyzed its clients’ claims and found gut-related claims are a top-three cost driver, as nearly one in six employees has a digestive disorder. Vivante’s GIThrive platform is a desperately needed win-win: it gives those living with a digestive health condition a place to turn for holistic care while helping employers and payers cut costs. And Vivante is committed to 100% transparent billing along the way.

We’re excited to support the team of scientific experts and care professionals building Vivante. Founder and CEO Kim Angelides cofounded Livongo, a digital health company focused on chronic disease management. Now he brings his experience, expertise, and passion to build a company that’s tackling an often-overlooked condition. We believe Vivante’s approach to virtualized care can impact the healthcare cost curve associated with complex inflammatory conditions and, most importantly, improve patient outcomes on a large scale. Welcome, Vivante!

Interested in bringing GIThrive to your employees or members? Vivante would love to hear from you. Send a note to Bill Snyder, Vivante’s Chief Commercial Officer, to learn more.

 


 

As we noted in late 2018, Rock Health is actively evaluating new investments, such as Vivante, where digital platforms can have massive impact on disease outcomes—and while we understand this requires complex technology solutions, we believe certain disease categories are especially primed for digital solutions. Specifically, we continue to search for solutions addressing disease categories where:

  • The current specialty pharmaceutical solutions have high price points to the healthcare system
  • There are high medical and prescription claims related to a chronic condition
  • Underlying disease response is driven by compliance, adherence, and behavior change
  • Complex care coordination can be driven and informed by data-driven science

Sound like something you’re working on? We’d love to hear from you.

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