Mar 8, 2017

Virta raises $37 million to "reverse" Type 2 diabetes

Virta Health, a San Francisco-based digital health startup that wants to "reverse Type 2 diabetes," has raised $37 million in venture capital funding. Backers include Venrock, Allen & Co.,Obvious Ventures, Redmile Group and Scifi VC. The company is led by Sami Iniken, founder of online real estate platform Trulia (now owned by Zillow).

Why it matters: Reversing diabetes without drugs or surgery is a pretty audacious goal, so points here for bold vision. And the company already has the public endorsement of a former chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. The basic idea is to obsessively monitor food intake, which Virta claims has proven effective in reversing (not managing) Type 2 in 87% of recent clinical trial patients. Yes, there will need to many many more clinical trials before this technology is proven out.

Bottom line: "Most people with the disease end up having to constantly monitor their blood sugar with the prick of a needle and diabetic pills or can "cure" it with bariatric surgery. However, type 2 diabetes (also know as adult onset diabetes) only affects those afflicted with it if their sugar levels go too high or too low. Thus, monitoring every carb you swallow is another measure in keeping the disease at bay." ― Sarah Buhr

Go deeper