Virta Health, founded by physicians and scientists from Stanford, MIT and Harvard, launched today with the goal to reverse Type II diabetes using its technology platform to enable personalized remote care. The company provides physician supervision, health coaches, an app and biomarker tracking tools, as well as a personalized nutrition plan for its patients in the hopes of reversing Type II diabetes.
The company’s launch comes after a peer-reviewed study showed that Virta successfully reversed Type II diabetes in half of its clinical trial patients. The company was also able to eliminate or reduce insulin use in 87% of patients in 10 weeks, according to Virta.
“Until now, the only clinically proven way to reverse diabetes was bariatric surgery. For the 1st time, people with Type II diabetes have an alternative to surgery, which is risky, costly and not covered for most people, and also to ongoing management with medications like insulin,” co-founder & CEO Sami Inkinen said in prepared remarks. “Our mission is to reverse diabetes in 100 million people by 2025. It’s an ambitious goal, but we’re motivated every day by the lives we’ve already changed.”
The online medical clinic said that they reverse Type II diabetes without medications or surgery, but instead by focusing on an individualized approach to carbohydrate intake and nutritional ketosis for each patient.
“Virta has shown that diabetes can be controlled in many patients without the need for medication or surgery. If we can get this treatment to more and more Americans, we can have a huge impact on their lives and reduce one of the most significant drivers of health care cost growth,” Dr. Robert Ratner, former chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association, added.
The company is backed by $37 million from investors including Venrock, Allen & Company, Max Levchin’s Scifi VC, Ev Williams’ Obvious Ventures and Redmile Group.
In partnership with Indiana University Health Arnett, Virta ran a clinical trial of its program and published the results in the Journal of Medical Internet Research Diabetes. The data showed that 56% of patients lowered their blood glucose to a non-diabetic range and 87% reduced or eliminated insulin within 10 weeks. More than 90% of patients adhered to and completed their individualized plans, according to the company.
“The life of diabetes is just hurting all the time. I was taking anywhere from 12 to 15 pills a day. Virta was like my last hope of being able to have my life back. Thanks to Virta, I’m sitting at 5.4 [A1c], so I’m under diabetes now. I feel alive. I feel like I have a life now,” clinical trial participant Sherry Crawford said.
“These early results indicate that when delivered with continuous online support, a highly individualized care plan focused on carbohydrate intake and nutritional ketosis can be very effective in improving glycemic control and weight loss in adults with Type II diabetes while decreasing or eliminating diabetes medication use,” medical director and report co-author Dr. Sarah Hallberg added.