Virtual substance use disorder (SUD) provider PursueCare netted $20 million in a series B fundraising round.
The Middletown, Connecticut-based company also acquired three software-based digital therapeutics developed by Pear Therapeutics, which filed for bankruptcy in April 2023. Pear’s SUD–focused prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) reSET landed an FDA de novo in 2017.
PursueCare previously offered digital therapeutics reSET, reSET-O and reSET-A to its patients before Pear’s bankruptcy. Patients were upset when they lost access to the products, Nick Mercadante, CEO and founder of PursueCare, told Behavioral Health Business.
“We knew that we had to solve for that gap,” Mercadante said. “So when the products became available, the stars aligned.”
The products can be used as self-guided cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) tools or integrated into a treatment plan. reSET is designed for general SUD, reSET-O for opioid use disorder (OUD) and reSET-A for alcohol use disorder (AUD).
“When you have an FDA-authorized resource that you can give to patients that they can access on their own time, at 10:30 at night on a Friday when they’re feeling cravings, and then get feedback in the form of data, that helps to provide clinical decision support to providers,” Mercadante said. “That’s something that we’re betting on is going to drive this entire field forward.”
PursueCare, which has treated approximately 10,000 patients this year, plans to keep the costs of the therapeutics low for both patients and health plans.
“Core to the offering is this 12-week curriculum,” Mercadante said. “Behind the 12-week curriculum is a contingency management program, which is basically a reward system. We plan to rebate any cost of care. If patients stick with treatment, they’re rewarded, and over time, it might become free for them.”
For health plans, the products are included as part and parcel with PursueCare’s value-based arrangements or be reimbursed as a product contract covered for members by their plan.
Low prices are possible because of Pear’s groundbreaking work, Mercadante said.
“For better or worse, they were the tip of the spear,” he said. “We’re the benefactors of all their hard work. Because we weren’t the ones that had to work so hard and spend so much money to innovate and get these out into the market, we can provide them at a very reduced cost.”
PursueCare has been working “behind the scenes” to seamlessly integrate the reSET products into its infrastructure and incorporate its data flow into the company’s electronic medical record (EMR). Once fully incorporated, PursueCare plans to offer the products to other providers.
By offering digital addiction treatment services to health systems and specialty providers, such as obstetricians who treat pregnant women with OUD, PursueCare can promote behavioral health integration into overall medical care.
“We can tie in, collaborate with them, help provide evaluation and treatment, activate these resources for them and then also provide the data back so it’s in their chart as well,” Mercadante said. “I think that that’s powerful. It creates continuity of care.”
PursueCare plans to continue to scale its services. It will expand services including medication- assisted treatment, comorbid psychiatric care, therapy and case management using the series B cash infusion.
The company also plans to expand its relationships with health systems and create value-based care arrangements with managed Medicaid and other payers.
Around 70% of PursueCare’s patients pay for care through managed Medicaid programs.
“[Value-based arrangements] could take shape in different ways depending on what the payer is familiar with,” Mercadante said. “It could be bundled case rates with additional incentives and bonuses, or capitated or per member per month. We’re flexible; it’s mostly driving movement towards getting aligned with health plans around the fact that our care will actually drive cost savings for the plan.”
T.Rx Capital and Yamaha Motor Ventures led the funding round with participation from Seyen Capital and OCA Ventures.