Musculoskeletal medicine startups rush to enter personalized health tech market – TechCrunch

Like the pandemic roars unevenly, Emilie melton, founder and managing partner of Threshold VC, looks back on a previous public health crisis: the Spanish flu.

She says the response just over a century ago sparked the rise of interventional medicine – treating disease with surgery or medicine only after symptoms appear. Today, interventional medicine is the dominant mindset in Western healthcare. And Melton, a leading investor in healthcare tech startups including Livongo, Tia and Calibrate, says the care journey is aging well.

Personalized medicine – the dynamic yet powerful framework that is growing in popularity among Silicon Valley startups – is a delivery system in which patients receive more holistic care that addresses multiple symptoms or co-morbidities.

“What is happening in our society? Chronic disease, chronic pain, diabetes and obesity, ”she said. “It doesn’t require a magic pill and it’s not just surgery. Often there are therapeutic components, behavioral changes and moving touchpoints.

Enter personalized medicine. Dynamic yet powerful framing is gaining popularity among startups in Silicon Valley. It is a delivery system in which patients receive more holistic care that addresses multiple symptoms or co-morbidities. In the area of ​​hormonal health, for example, personalized medicine could add more data and specificity to birth control than a person takes, instead of the usual process of trial and error. Essentially, it is the opposite of interventional medicine.

“We’re not just an arm or a leg, we’re not just obese or diabetic or in pain,” Melton said. “How do we treat you as a whole person? “

A number of companies are using this approach to reinvent the care of patients with musculoskeletal (MSK) and chronic pain. These conditions are usually treated with addictive opioids, a major public health problem. While about 50 million Americans suffer from chronic pain, entrepreneurs are working on solutions that don’t look like the status quo cookie-cutter. And the money market is certainly there: in 2017, the global MSK medical market was valued at $ 57.4 billion; the chronic pain market, which straddles MSK medicine, is expected to reach $ 151.7 billion by 2030.

“A lot of times it’s not new ideas, it’s about confusing a number of factors that come together at one point that allows for exponential change that makes a startup work,” Melton said of the boom and of recent activity in MSK medicine. Today we’ll focus on three startups taking different approaches to helping people with chronic pain and MSK-related disorders: Clearing, PeerWell, and Hinge Health.


Avi Dorfman says going directly to consumers is the most effective way to treat chronic pain, which is why he founded Clearing. The digital health startup worked with a medical advisory board made up of doctors and researchers from Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and New York City Special Surgery Hospital to create an opioid-free solution for people with pain.

Last month, Clearing raised a $ 20 million funding round led by Bessemer and Founders Fund. Melton also invested in the tour on behalf of Threshold.

Clearing offers four products: a prescription compound cream that includes FDA-approved ingredients, a CBD cream for topical discomfort, nutraceuticals to supplement joint health, and a prerecorded home exercise repertoire. It is currently available for patients in California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Texas.

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