Prescription digital therapeutics company Pear Therapeutics began trading on Nasdaq Monday after wrapping up its merger with special-purpose acquisition company Thimble Point Acquisition Corp. last week.
The business combination brought in about $175 million, which the company said will be used to capitalize its digital therapeutic products. It’s trading under the ticker symbol PEAR.
“My Pearmates and I are proud to continue our leadership in the creation of prescription digital therapeutics,” Pear President and CEO Dr. Corey McCann said in a statement. “As a public company, we aim to accelerate our vision to increase access to PDTs [prescription digital therapeutics] by further commercializing our three FDA-authorized PDTs, expanding public and private payer adoption, and advancing our pipeline of PDTs. Thanks to all of our investors for supporting our successful transition.”
WHY IT MATTERS
In 2017, Pear received de novo clearance from the FDA for its reSET tool used for treating substance use disorder, the first digital therapeutic approved by the FDA with claims to improve clinical outcomes.
Since then, the company has received FDA marketing clearance for its reSET-O product for opioid use disorder and its digital chronic insomnia therapeutic, Somryst. In late November, it received Breakthrough Device Designation for reSET-A, a prescription digital therapeutic aimed at alcohol use disorder.
It has other products in its pipeline, including Pear-004 aimed at treating schizophrenia. The product was released for limited distribution in April 2020 after the FDA loosened regulations on digital psychiatric care devices during the COVID-19 pandemic, though one clinical trial found no benefits of the app compared with a sham version.
THE LARGER TREND
Pear originally announced plans to go public through a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) deal in June, a popular method of public exit for digital health companies.
“In our view, Pear is at a commercial inflection point, with the potential for rapid expansion. We believe this transaction will allow us to drive widespread usage of PDTs to treat major medical conditions and overcome significant barriers to patient care,” McCann said in a statement at the time of the announcement.
A Rock Health report from April suggested companies that go public via an SPAC deal are typically younger and less funded than those that choose an IPO. The report found SPACs are probably popular in the digital health space because it’s a high-growth sector, there’s pent-up demand after an IPO drought in 2017 and 2018, and a quicker method of going public is desirable in a volatile and ever-changing market.
Other digital health companies that took the SPAC route include direct-to-consumer virtual care company Hims & Hers, genetic testing company 23andMe, digital therapeutics company Better Therapeutics, chatbot Babylon, teletherapy company Talkspace and baby tech company Owlet.