Virtual reality therapy startup Oxford VR today announced its secured $12.5 million in Series A financing to further its research and development into VR-based therapy programs.
The latest funding round was led by Optum Ventures and supported by Luminous Ventures. Existing investors include Oxford Sciences Innovation, Oxford University Innovation, and GT Healthcare Capital Partners.
The company says in a press release that the fresh capital will allow it to accelerate expansion into the U.S. and continue R&D into treating conditions such as anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Founded in 2017 by Oxford Professor Daniel Freeman and biomedical engineer Barnaby Perks, Oxford VR is building what it calls “automated VR therapy,” which provides psychological treatments to patients as an adjunct to traditional therapy.
The company says its platform is intended to “transform behavioral health care by helping overloaded providers expand access and standardize clinical excellence, ensuring adherence to treatment protocols.”
For Oxford VR’s first clinical trial, the company tested a program that exposed patients with a fear of heights to a virtual suspended walkway. The results were published in The Lancet Psychiatry; the company says the results achieved were “significantly better than expected, with the best psychological intervention delivered face-to-face by a therapist.”
The company is already delivering its automated VR therapy in real-world settings via the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). Additionally, Oxford VR is participating in trials including the NHS-funded gameChange project, a large-scale trial to use VR therapy to treat patients with behavioral health conditions.
Oxford VR has also partnered with AXA Hong Kong and The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) in a pilot program to test VR’s potential to support better mental health outcomes.
In the US, the company has also established a partnership with the Colorado-based National Mental Health Innovation Center (NMHIC) where it is running multiple pilots using VR therapy treatments.
Along with the investment, Ash Patel, Principal at Optum Ventures is joining the Oxford VR Board of Directors.