Health Tech

Twin Health Snags $50M to Help Employers, Health Plans Treat Metabolic Disease

Twin Health raked in $50 million in Series D financing. The startup seeks to help patients improve their metabolic health and reduce the need for medications through the “digital twin” technology it sells to employers and health plans.

Chronic metabolic diseases like obesity and diabetes are one of the main drivers of high healthcare costs and poor health outcomes in the U.S. The CDC estimates that obesity alone costs the country’s healthcare system nearly $173 billion a year.

Investors are funneling cash into companies building solutions to treat metabolic diseases, with another sizable funding round announced this week. Twin Health, a Mountain View, California-based metabolic care startup, raked in $50 million in Series D financing. The company, founded in 2018, uses “digital twin” technology to help patients improve their metabolic health and reduce the need for medications.

The funding round, led by Temasek, brings the startup’s total funding to $250 million. Given that this is a large Series D fundraise, questions about exit strategy abound. But Twin Health Founder and CEO Jahangir Mohammed declined to answer questions about that subject, instead saying that the latest round of financing is intended to scale its customer base and further develop its technology.

Twin Health sells its digital twin technology to employers and health plans. This technology creates a live digital model for each user’s unique metabolism. The startup does this by collecting data from continuous glucose monitors, fitness watches, and blood tests, as well as consultations with healthcare providers and coaches.

“Chronic metabolic disease historically hasn’t been treated, but rather managed through medications that often have serious side effects. Getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can be overwhelming and scary, as many people believe it is something they will have to live with for the rest of their lives,” Mohammed said.

Twin Health’s approach rejects the traditional “one size fits all” way of treating chronic metabolic diseases, Mohammed noted.

A user’s digital twin is created during their onboarding process and is continually updated with live data so that Twin Health can provide personalized recommendations on how to improve metabolic health. For example, the startup’s platform might recommend that a user get an extra hour of sleep each night, incorporate more exercise into their week or reduce their intake of certain foods.

Twin Health’s goals are to help its customers’ members reverse type 2 diabetes, reduce or eliminate their need for medications and achieve significant weight loss, Mohammed said. He thinks his company is doing well at accomplishing these goals, saying that users with type 2 diabetes see an average A1C reduction of 2.9 and average weight loss of 16.6 pounds in the first six months of using Twin Health’s platform. 

By helping users understand more about their unique metabolic health and providing customized directives on how to improve it, Twin Health helps users tackle the root causes of their diseases rather than just medicating them, Mohammed declared.

“Treatments today have all been focused on managing the disease and preventing progression, not targeting the root cause to heal the body. The result is we have hundreds of programs, a pipeline of high-cost medications that are only getting more expensive and people who feel there is no hope anymore. There’s also a lack of education and general knowledge of what causes chronic metabolic disease, how to actually treat it and that reversal is possible,” he explained. 

The company’s proprietary digital twin technology and its focus on addressing the underlying causes of metabolic disease, rather than just managing the condition, is what sets it apart from other startups in the crowded weight loss space, such as Omada, Livongo and Virta, Mohammed argued.

Additionally, the fees that the startup charges are fully at-risk based on outcomes, meaning Twin Health does not utilize any per-member-per-month fees. The company only gets paid if users’ health improves, Mohammed explained.

Photo: puhimec, Getty Images