Digital therapeutics company Kaia Health has announced the closure of an $8m funding round led by healthcare venture capital firm Optum Ventures.

The money will be used to accelerate the company’s sales growth in the US, as well as extending its platform and expanding the supporting clinical evidence base for its technology. This is Kaia’s second significant fundraising of 2019, following $10m in Series A funding from Balderton Capital in January.

Kaia Health creates smartphone-based treatments for a range of conditions including musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). App users can watch video clips covering basic MSK and COPD pain information, alongside physiotherapy and psychological exercises, such as mindfulness and muscle relaxation.

When users carry out these exercises themselves, the app uses a 2D motion tracking algorithm through the smartphone’s front camera to give them real-time audio feedback on their performance. A built-in chat tool also allows them to consult directly with a physiotherapist if they are struggling with certain movements or exercise positions.

In May 2019, Kaia Health completed a peer-reviewed study published in NPJ Digital Medicine. Patients who used Kaia’s motion tracking technology reported significantly lower pain levels compared to a control group treated with traditional physiotherapy.

Optum Ventures partner Heather Roxborough said: “Kaia Health has taken a technology-led approach to create digital therapeutics that will make treatment more accessible to patients who need it. We believe Kaia Health’s digital therapeutic solutions will benefit those suffering from MSK disorders and are excited about its application in other indications.”

Kaia Health’s apps cost $24 a month to use on subscription, although around 20 million German patients are able to access them for free through their health insurers. The technology is registered as a Class I medical device in Europe, and Kaia is currently seeking US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval.

Kaia Health founder and CEO Konstantin Mehl said: “The investment from Optum Ventures will allow us to explore integration opportunities throughout the complete patient treatment journey.”