A start-up founded by an Oxford Professor of Psychiatry has received €11.9 million in funding to extend its operations into the USA and to continue expanding its current undertakings. Oxford VR, a company that seeks to offer virtual reality based therapy for psychological disorders, received the funding from a variety of venture capital firms, including Optum Ventures and Luminous Ventures.
Professor Daniel Freeman founded Oxford VR in 2017, after an extensive career working on methods to treat mental health disorders, particularly delusions and hallucinations, pioneering the use of VR in these treatments from 2001. Virtual reality therapy is a growing practice that moulds itself often on exposure therapy, where patients can be exposed to harmless forms of past trauma in order to heal psychological disorders stemming from their experience.
The Oxford VR website states: “In VR we can create powerful simulations of the scenarios in which psychological difficulties occur. Averaging at just two hours of treatment, our immersive therapy has been proven to be successful in reducing patients fears by 68%.
“So far, we have completed programs to treat fear of heights and boost social engagement. Looking forward, work is underway to tackle the full range of psychological disorders, particularly those that are most complex, costly and debilitating.”
Izzy Tod, Principal of one of the investing firms, Luminous Ventures, said that, “immersive therapy is accessible, engaging and effective, and has demonstrated exceptional clinical outcomes and we are thrilled to be partnering with the Oxford VR team”.
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