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Digital health player Biofourmis secures $100M investment led by Softbank

Biofourmis Inc., a privately held digital therapeutics company based in Boston, has completed a $100 million Series C funding round led by SoftBank Corp.

The round also included funding from existing investors EDB Investments Pte. Ltd., MassMutual Ventures LLC, Openspace Ventures Pte. Ltd. and Sequoia Capital Operations LLC.

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Biofourmis CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput
Source: Biofourmis Inc.

CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput, who co-founded Biofourmis in 2015, said the fresh funds will offer the opportunity to restructure the startup and introduce new verticals. The money will also be used to accelerate global expansion plans and advance its digital therapeutics pipeline.

Since inception, Biofourmis has gained the interest of not only major investors such as Softbank but also pharmaceutical companies Novartis AG, AstraZeneca PLC and Roche Holding AG subsidiary Chugai Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. The startup has spent the last few years working on digital solutions for heart disease, oncology and pain management that can be used alone or in combination with pharmaceutical drugs and therapies.

Following a Series B funding in May 2019, the company was able to move its headquarters to Boston and scale up the U.S. business, Rajput said.

He said the COVID-19 pandemic has now accelerated the company's growth plan by five years as the healthcare system begins to look at ways to treat and monitor patients at home.

Rajput met with Softbank Chairman Masayoshi Son to discuss an opportunity to scale up the company faster and expand further into U.S. and Asian markets, beginning with Japan.

While Rajput said an IPO for the company is still three to four years away, the latest funding round will help create two new verticals as part of an internal reorganization: Biofourmis Health and Biofourmis Therapeutics. The Biofourmis Health side of the business will focus on digital solutions to monitor patients at home, primarily for cardiovascular diseases, oncology and respiratory illnesses.

"Instead of going to the hospital, how do you bring the hospital into patients' homes? And then of course, once they are discharged from the hospital, how do you manage post-care patients at their home?" he said.

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Biofourmis' Biovitals and Biovotion tools
Source: Biofourmis Inc.

Biofourmis Therapeutics will build digital therapies that can be labeled similar to a drug with drug-like treatment claims. Biofourmis plans to expand the creation of single therapies and combination therapies to be used alongside traditional pharmaceuticals. For instance, a recent partnership with Chugai aims to pair Biofourmis' pain management platform in combination with Chugai's endometriosis drug.

In addition, Rajput said the company has real-world data for over 5 million patients, which could potentially set them apart from competitors in digital therapeutics.

"One of the cultures within Biofourmis always has been, how do we move fast enough [to] get products out into the market, so that we can impact as many patients as possible?" Rajput said. "Having backing from Masa [Son] and the validation, I think that will propel us and give us good penetration into [what is] new for the market. And I think our goal is to significantly grow in the next two to three years."

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Softbank's investment in Biofourmis was made through Vision Fund 2, a $108 billion fund announced in July 2019.

The Japanese conglomerate was reportedly taking a more cautious approach to investments for the second Vision Fund after the market failed to respond positively to investments made under the first edition, such as Uber Technologies Inc. and The We Co.

Other healthcare companies that have received funding from the Vision Fund 2 include online pharmacy Alto, operated by ScriptDash Inc., and gene therapy company Encoded Therapeutics Inc.