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Boost for diabetes reversal programme

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Diabetes reversal programme pioneers Ian Braithwaite and Napala Pratini .

Digital health startup Habitual has raised £1.7m in seed funding to progress its approach to diabetes reversal and treatment.

Habitual provides digital prediabetes and type 2 diabetes remission programmes that help patients to reverse disease and live medication-free.

It founded in 2019 by Ian Braithwaite, a medical doctor with a background in digital health startups, and Napala Pratini, a marketer who has worked with tech firms including Plaid, Hired, and NerdWallet.

Habitual combines evidence-based nutritional strategies with digital therapeutics to help patients make lasting changes to their nutritional, physical and mental health. Ultimately its aim is to help patients to stop taking medication and achieve remission of type 2 diabetes.

The capital raised will be used to fuel user growth, increase team size, and undertake clinical research trials.

The round led by Berlin-based early-stage investor Atlantic Food Labs, followed by existing investors Seedcamp and MMC.

Oxford Seed Fund, an initiative of the Entrepreneurship Centre at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, are also participating.

COO Napala Pratini said: “There’s never been a better time to build a digital health company, particularly in the diabetes space.

“With skyrocketing rates of chronic disease crippling our healthcare systems, the COVID-19 pandemic accelerating adoption of digital healthcare interventions, and increasing patient awareness of the importance of a healthy, balanced lifestyle, we’re not only hoping to build a massive business. But also to help millions of people across the world to live longer, happier lives.”

CEO Ian Braithwaite said: “There is a growing body of scientific evidence to show that gold-standard treatment for type 2 diabetes should no longer be solely reliant on pharmacology-based management, but rather defined by empathetic and effective behavioural treatment to help patients reverse the underlying disease process and sustain remission from type 2 diabetes.

“This challenge is not an easy one, but we are excited about the opportunity to help define this new standard of care for millions of type 2 diabetics.”

In the UK, one in 10 people over the age of 40 is diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.

Of these, 60 per cent will suffer from a complication of the disease, with major risks including amputation, heart attack, and stroke.

Recent evidence shows that 45-60 per cent of people with type 2 diabetes can completely reverse the condition through a combination of diet and behavioural change.

The reversibility of type 2 diabetes holds the potential to not only change millions of lives across the world, but also to save healthcare systems billions of pounds.

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