Reversing the autoimmune epidemic: Our investment in WellTheory

The way we diagnose and treat autoimmune diseases such as Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), Psoriasis and Irritable Bowel Disease (IBD) is broken. Diagnosis takes on average 4.5 years and there’s typically no clear-cut test to identify a possible case of these conditions. There are over 80 autoimmune indications and no true “cures” currently exist. Additionally, drugs used for treatment often have unpleasant side effects and limited efficacy while nonetheless accounting for a significant portion of U.S. prescription drug spend.

Today, over 50 million Americans are living with an autoimmune disease. Autoimmune conditions occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells by mistake and causes symptoms like inflammation/swelling, pain, and redness in the affected areas of the body. Researchers have recently determined that the prevalence of antinuclear antibodies, the most common biomarker of autoimmunity, have been significantly increasing in the U.S. population. The cause of this rise is unclear; concerningly, it suggests a future increase in autoimmune disease prevalence.

Recent scientific findings shine a light on an alternative path forward for autoimmune care. New research demonstrates a strong linkage between autoimmune diseases, gut health and diet/lifestyle choices. There is mounting evidence suggesting dietary modifications that reduce and modulate inflammation generate improved clinical responses in many autoimmune conditions like IBD, RA, and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis. Additionally, healthcare consumers have also shown a willingness to adopt digital, behavior change-based programs as an alternative to traditional medication-only care paradigms. Autoimmune patients are particularly motivated to try new therapeutic approaches as autoimmune disease is often a lifelong journey and patients currently struggle to effectively control symptoms and drug side effects.

There are tremendous unmet needs and a likewise enormous opportunity to connect patients with research-backed support. And that’s why we are thrilled to announce our investment in WellTheory, a membership-based nutritional therapy and health coach-focused platform for patients with autoimmune disease.

WellTheory’s program utilizes research-backed dietary and lifestyle protocols that address the root cause of autoimmunity. With WellTheory, we believe payers and self-insured employers will reduce expensive drug spend and route patients into WellTheory’s less-costly, more effective, personalized therapeutic program. WellTheory’s program helps patients achieve their goals while potentially decreasing their reliance on expensive drugs and enabling them to regain greater control of their health. We’re excited to support founder Ellen Rudolph and the entire WellTheory team as we welcome them into the Rock Health family.

Learn more about how WellTheory is shaping the future of autoimmune care, or access support by booking a free consultation with the WellTheoryCare Team.

Rock Health Capital is an early-stage venture fund focused on digital health. We would love to hear from you. Get in touch!