The needs to treat mental disorders, such as insomnia, are on the rise. However, only a handful of treatment options exist for most mental disorders. Currently, the most common treatment method is in the form of face-to-face consultation with a psychiatrist. Nevertheless, it is difficult for patients to receive this treatment, as it is often expensive and less accessible.
Hyekang Roh co-founded WELT to solve this problem with science and technology. WELT’s ‘digital therapeutic’ is a software that can be ‘prescribed’ to treat mental disorders. Doctors can simply prescribe the treatment, in a software form, to the patient and the patient will receive the automated treatment through their smartphones.
WELT’s digital therapeutic is fundamentally based on existing psychotherapy methods. Its therapeutic contents have been written by psychiatrists and have been validated through clinical trials. Also, the treatment software is integrated with a dedicated sensor algorithm to help patients monitor and predict symptoms. Any digital phenotypes that may affect the symptoms are measured through the smartphone. This helps patients receive the therapeutic interventions needed at the appropriate timing.
Scientific validation through clinical trials is also essential. WELT’s first pipeline targets insomnia and has been approved for IND by the MFDS (Korean version of FDA) last year. The final confirmatory clinical trials are in progress, and aim to be completed early next year. WELT’s digital therapeutics will be able to offer treatment at a lower price and will be more highly scalable than other conventional treatment options. Hyekang believes that science and technology can fulfill the unmet needs of those suffering from mental disorders.WELT has currently received up to $12 million of investment, which include investors like Samsung and Handok (#1 Neuroscience Pharma in Korea). WELT also co-chairs the APAC group of Digital Therapeutics Alliance. The company has received 2 IND approvals from the MFDS and also holds 11 registered patents and 18 pending.