Lyra Health raises $35M Series A to ramp up staff, remove barriers in mental health delivery

Lyra Health, a digital health startup co-founded by former Genentech and Facebook CFO Dave Ebersman to improve the patient referral process and care coordination for mental health, has raised a $35 million Series A round, according to a company statement.

Greylock Partners and existing investor Venrock led the round designed to boost its clinical and technical staff and support clinical studies of its technology with strategic partners.

Among he conditions it seeks to address are depression, anxiety and substance abuse.

One of them is employer-facing health IT company Castlight Health, which is also a financial backer. In a phone interview with Chief Medical Officer Dena Bravata, formerly CMO and Head of Products at Castlight, she talked about the importance of the company’s mission.

“In the recent past, the delivery of mental health services has been separate from other medical care and has created a number of barriers. We believe we cannot have total health without mental health.”

Other new investors include Providence Health & ServicesBreyer Capital and Origin Capital Management. Its targeted customer base includes employers, health plans, and health care providers.

Its platform includes a few different components to evaluate people who may need mental health support. It provides digital diagnostic tests for primary care providers. They are used to screen and assess patients identified as potentially in need behavioral health care. There’s also an analytical model to identify people deemed most at risk and refer them easily.

“Data driven technology with services sparks the imagination and there is a lot of hope that it can provide a material difference,” Bravata said.

One thing it hopes to do with the new funding is evaluate improvements in productivity with employer plans.  “That’s the next outcome of greatest interest especially with employer partners… at that point we will be able to demonstrate a material difference in costs,” Bravata said.

She added that Lyra expects to announce its first set of commercial partners in 2017.