Akili Interactive, the company behind the first video game to get approved as a medical treatment, announced today that it will go public through a merger with Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp, which is run by former Facebook executive Chamath Palihapitiya. The deal values the company at $1 billion.
The Food and Drug Administration approved Aikili Interactive’s first product, a video game called EndeavorRX used to treat ADHD in children, in 2020. The company is still working towards full commercialization of the game but said in fillings today that around 1,000 doctors have written prescriptions for the game so far.
The company has a slate of other projects in the pipeline, as well. In filings, it said it’s working on expanding the ADHD treatment to other groups (like adults and younger children). It’s also studying ways to expand the use of its tech into conditions like autism spectrum disorder, depression, and memory. Researchers started testing to see if EndeavorRX could help with cognitive issues in people who had COVID-19 in April 2021.
Akili Interactive’s announcement comes during a surge in interest in digital health and digital products as medical treatments. Another digital therapeutics company, Pear Therapeutics, went public in December. The FDA approved two VR-based therapeutics this fall: one that treats lazy eye in children and a second for chronic pain. Augmented reality company Magic Leap is pushing into health care and announced this month that it was giving early access to its new headsets to four health companies — including a group working on diagnostics and treatments for disorders that cause dizziness.
Palihapitiya is expected to become the chair of Akili Interactive’s Board of Directors, the company said in a statement. The former Facebook executive has heavily criticized social media in the past few years and said in 2017 that it’s “ripping apart the social fabric of how society works.”