Israeli startup to pioneer hybrid app–drug combinations for tailored treatment

Remepy raises $15m to combine digital therapeutic software with traditional medicine; former prime minister Naftali Bennett and Merck’s global head of R&D join board

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Michal Tsur, co-founder of Remepy (left) and the biotech startup's board member former prime minister Naftali Bennett. (Courtesy)
Michal Tsur, co-founder of Remepy (left) and the biotech startup's board member former prime minister Naftali Bennett. (Courtesy)

Just as drivers use mobile apps such as Waze for a better navigation experience, or Fitbit fitness tracker devices are worn to enhance exercise outcomes, an Israeli biotech startup believes that in the future patients will be prescribed traditional drugs coupled with personally tailored software applications to optimize their effectiveness and improve medical outcomes.

Founded in 2022 by Dr. Michal Tsur, co-founder of video platform provider Kaltura, and Or Shoval, Remepy is developing tailored therapeutic software for mobile applications that the startup says can unlock and trigger brain functions that modulate the immune system and are synergetic with traditional drugs.

The idea is to create a platform that connects the mind and body through cognitive-behavioral exercises, guided meditations and other practices drawn from neuroscience, such as multisensory conditioning.

The startup announced on Wednesday that it raised $10 million from a seed funding round taking its total financing to $15 million. It seeks to use the funds to pioneer and bring the “first hybrid drug [combination of digital therapeutic software with drugs] to the market.”

The startup believes that many neurodegenerative and autoimmune diseases, including cancer and Parkinson’s Disease, are better treated by combining drugs with non-pharmacological digital treatments.

The funding round was led by venture capital firm NFX. Investors that joined the round are Vine Ventures, Psymed Ventures, Supernode Ventures and Firstime Ventures. Other investors include Tech Aviv as well as fresh.fund, and 97212 Ventures.

Remepy co-CEOs Michal Tsur (left) and Or Shoval (right) together with chief scientific officer Prof. Amir Amedi. (Courtesy)

“We are leveraging the power of digital interactions with our brain to cause physiological changes that are synergetic with drugs,” Tsur, who serves as Remepy’s co-CEO told The Times of Israel during a phone interview. “We can trigger different processes in the brain that have to do with brain connectivity, modulating the immune system, and activating the reward system which are extremely synergetic with the influence of drugs and are intended to improve outcomes.”

“We focus on psychological behavioral and cognitive interactions that trigger the brain mechanisms that are synergetic with many types of drugs,” Tsur added.

Pharma giant Merck’s global head of R&D and chief medical officer Dr. Danny Bar Zohar has joined the startup’s board of directors, Remepy said. That’s after former prime minister Naftali Bennett, who co-founded fintech startup Cyota with Tsur, joined the board in February.

Tsur said that the digital app has shown encouraging results in pilot studies and clinical trials run with about 200 patients such as decreasing depression, anxiety and insomnia, and improving resilience and biomarkers related to chronic stress and inflammation.

As part of the trials, the startup said it used extensive brain imaging, blood and saliva samples analysis and standardized questionnaires to show that its patent-pending digital therapies can modulate blood biomarkers.

File: Illustration of an autoimmune disease, with antibodies attacking neurons (Dr._Microbe via iStock by Getty Images)

“As a physician and drug developer, it is fascinating for me to see Remepy’s clinical data, which shows how these unique non-invasive digital interventions can modulate the immune system, make significant changes to brain plasticity, and drive behavioral changes,” said Bar Zohar. “Remepy’s product has the potential to enhance immunotherapy for cancer, or improve existing drug therapy for neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s Disease and MCI (Mild Cognitive Impairment).”

“These proprietary digital-drug combinations could significantly improve patient outcomes and create tangible value for patients and healthcare systems,” he added.

Tsur said the startup seeks to partner with pharma companies to integrate its digital therapeutic applications with both proprietary drugs and generic drugs.

“In such a difficult period of war for many people in Israel some of us feel that healing also has to do with building, innovating and thinking,” she said. “We feel fortunate that what we are doing is not only building in order to heal, but we are going to be building something that has the potential to heal severe diseases.”

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