Last week was a tough one for digital health, with the news that pioneer Pear Therapeutics would be closing up shop. Known as an early-mover in prescription digital therapeutics (PDT) innovation, Pear raised $250M in funding, received FDA authorization for three of its PDTs, and exited via SPAC in 2021—but now has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Pear pushed the limits of “what’s possible” for prescription digital therapeutics; as we celebrate their contributions to the ecosystem, we’re also chewing on what this outcome means for the future of PDT development and commercialization.
Pear’s story emphasizes the significant challenges to “making a market” for a new solution type (R&D, market access, provider and patient education)—especially when that market remains limited by regulatory and reimbursement murkiness. As an innovation leader, Pear faced uphill battles on multiple fronts, a few of which are shared below. While we wait to see what becomes of Pear’s assets, we’ll be cheering for the next generation of startups that will pick up the mantle and continue the important work of developing new therapeutic modalities.
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