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Digital Sedation Company Raises $11.8M in Early Funds


Sedakit with a pediatric patient (Oncomfort SA)

9 Sept. 2020. A Belgian company creating virtual reality systems for sedation in surgery and invasive procedures is raising €10 million in its first venture funding round. Oncomfort SA, a three year-old enterprise in Brussels, develops non-pharmaceutical techniques for relieving pain and anxiety in patients for surgery, invasive examinations, cancer pain management, and other medical applications.

Oncomfort’s lead product, called Sedakit, uses virtual reality to induce an hypnotic state in patients. Sedakit’s virtual reality modules, says the company, can be personalized for the age of the patients, including children, and for the medical procedures encountered by the patients. The sessions are designed in 12 different languages to create distraction for procedures usually not needing sedation, immersion or dissociation when moderate sedation is required, or deep sedation for surgeries.

The virtual reality sessions, says Oncomfort, use 3-D hypnotherapeutic scripts with immersive sounds to disassociate patients from their pain, anxiety, and clinical environment. Because no anesthetic drugs are needed, their side effects are eliminated, allowing clinicians to focus on the procedures and improve safety for patients. The company says some 30,000 patients have so far used the system.

Oncomfort says Sedakit has been tested in clinical trials with some 2,000 patients, showing the techniques can replace anesthetic drugs in many surgeries, with patients having fewer interrupted breathing episodes and involuntary movements. Clinical studies also show less time needed for surgery, and reports of higher satisfaction by both patients and anesthesiologists. The system’s software received a CE mark, a clearance to market in Europe.

Mario Huyghe, CEO of Oncomfort, says in a company statement that “We are at a tipping point in our digital therapy,” adding, “Virtual reality acts as an enabler for this digital therapy. Yet, Oncomfort’s true potential comes from the scientific evidence of its digital sedation and the multidisciplinary co-creation with the expertise of anesthesiologists, neurologists, psychologists, and hypnotherapists.”

The company’s first venture round is raising €10 million, or $US 11.8 million, led by biopharmaceutical and digital health company Debiopharm in Lausanne, Switzerland and technology venture investor Crédit Mutuel Innovation in Paris. According to Crunchbase, Oncomfort raised undisclosed seed funds in late 2016, with the Caring Entrepreneurship Fund in Brussels as an investor. Oncomfort says Wallonia Innovation and Growth, a Belgian digital technology investor, is also continuing its support.

The company, says Huyghe, plans to use the round’s proceeds to “accelerate our product development with a broader engineering team and invest in the international expansion of Oncomfort.” That international expansion includes the U.S. as well as other European markets.

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