Sooma Secures €5M Funding for At-Home Brain Stimulation for Depression

Sooma Medical announced it had secured new growth funding of €5 million. The investment round was spearheaded by Voima Ventures, a Nordic early-stage investor focusing on science-based solutions. This funding signifies a significant milestone for Sooma, underscoring its commitment to enhancing global access to treatments for depression and offering effective care for individuals grappling with mental health issues.

Depression is a principal cause of disability worldwide, impacting an estimated 300 million people globally, as per the World Health Organization (WHO). Traditional treatment methods, such as antidepressants and psychotherapy, present challenges including inadequate responses, adverse side effects for numerous patients, and restricted availability owing to limited resources and extended waiting periods.

Sooma is at the forefront of the international effort to combat depression, introducing a versatile and accessible treatment alternative, Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), via its portable neuromodulation device. tDCS employs a gentle electrical current to stimulate the brain, mitigating symptoms of depression without relying on pharmaceuticals. Sooma's treatment specifically targets the brain, alleviating symptoms without the systemic side effects often associated with antidepressant drugs. Sooma’s therapies, which require a prescription, can be utilised independently or alongside other forms of treatment. Remarkably, it is among the limited number of brain stimulation therapies that patients can administer safely at home.

"Everyone battling depression deserves a chance at a brighter tomorrow. Our innovative, drug-free treatment is designed to be easily accessible from the comfort of your own home. We are dedicated to reaching especially those underserved by medication, or those with limited access to psychotherapy, ensuring everyone suffering from depression has access to the best possible care," says Tuomas Neuvonen, co-founder and CEO of Sooma.

Sooma's portable neuromodulation system is complemented by a digital platform that enables clinicians to monitor treatment compliance remotely and customise the therapy according to individual patient requirements, irrespective of their geographical location. This technology facilitates the management of numerous patients simultaneously, thereby enhancing the treatment's efficacy while improving healthcare efficiency and scalability.

Within a relatively short period, Sooma's devices have emerged as the globally most prescribed therapies using Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS), with treatment administered to over 20,000 patients across the world. The effectiveness of this treatment has been validated in placebo-controlled studies, showing that a significant number of patients experienced symptom alleviation within weeks. This progress has supported many individuals in addressing severe work-related challenges and resuming their everyday activities.

"Our mission is to help as many people in need as possible. For us, the main indicator of success is the number of individuals receiving treatment and aid through our solutions,” Neuvonen says.

Sooma works in close partnership with eminent medical professionals and practicing clinicians to innovate effective treatment solutions and assist healthcare systems in serving a greater number of patients. The company produces its devices in Finland, adhering to stringent quality management and regulatory standards. In a significant milestone, Sooma became the first manufacturer of Transcranial Direct Current Stimulation (tDCS) devices to be awarded the European MDR certification (EU Medical Device Regulation) in September 2023.

The recent funding injection positions Sooma to further its mission of aiding patients worldwide by hastening the development of its products and expanding swiftly into both new and existing markets. The investment round was led by Voima Ventures, a renowned Nordic early-stage investor with a focus on science-based solutions. The round also saw participation from the Singapore-based Verge HealthTech Fund, which is dedicated to investing in early-stage, impactful, and global healthcare technologies, along with Stephen Industries, an existing investor from Helsinki that finances health tech and other technologies with significant impact.

"Sooma is changing how we tackle depression worldwide. Their at-home brain stimulation therapy offers a powerful way to help people without the need for drugs or the risk of side effects or addiction. I've seen firsthand how amazing this technology is across various patient groups, and it's wonderful to be part of their journey to bring this to more people globally. The battle against depression is only beginning, and it's time that we start making a change," says Inka Mero, Founding Partner of Voima Ventures.

Apart from funding, Sooma also recently received an FDA Breakthrough Device Designation. This designation is reserved for novel therapies that show significant potential to provide a substantial improvement over existing options for severe or life-threatening conditions.

"The FDA Breakthrough Device Designation acknowledges Sooma as a crucial missing component in depression treatment in the US, opening us a unique opportunity to help millions of people suffering from depression. Gaining FDA approval would not just open up the therapy for patients throughout the US but also serve as a stamp of approval for regulators around the globe. We are committed to making our treatment accessible to patients in need worldwide as quickly as possible,” Neuvonen concludes.