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Cipla to acquire stake in VC-backed digital therapeutics startup Wellthy

Cipla Ltd has agreed to acquire an 11.71 % stake in health-tech startup Wellthy Therapeutics Pvt. Ltd for Rs 10.5 crore ($1.5 million), India's third-largest drugmaker said on Monday.

As part of the agreement, the two companies will offer a combination of pharmacotherapy and digital therapeutics for improved patient outcomes in the chronic therapies of diabetology and cardiology, Cipla said in a stock-exchange filing.

"By pairing our pharmacotherapy strengths with the digital approach to healthcare taken by Wellthy Therapeutics, Cipla will add to its diversified portfolio in the cardio-metabolic area to provide holistic care to patients from awareness, diagnosis and compliance to wellbeing," said Umang Vohra, managing director and global CEO at Cipla.

Cipla said that the transaction, which is likely to be completed before March 10, is part of its lnnoventia campaign that aims to encourage innovation-led entrepreneurship and harness disruptive ideas in healthcare.

The drugmaker also said that, under the agreement, a multi-lingual clinically validated digital disease management platform will be made available to patients living with diabetes or cardiovascular diseases via doctors' clinics or co-packaging on select Cipla brands. 

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of mortality in India. Diabetes and hypertension are significant risk factors leading to cardiovascular diseases. According to the statement, about 72 million Indians are estimated to be diabetic.  

Wellthy was founded in December 2015. Its revenue for 2017-18 was Rs 12.04 lakh. The company offers a mobile app which prescribes a diabetes control programme for its users through a series of interventions that include a personalised nutrition plan and a dedicated health coach. Diabetics can also monitor their blood sugar levels through the app and use it to get customised data-driven consultations from a doctor.

In December 2017, VCCircle reported that the startup had raised an undisclosed sum from early-stage investor GrowX Ventures. Last year, Wellthy raised Rs 13.5 crore ($2.1 million) in a seed funding round led by the family office of Ranjan Pai, chairman of Manipal Education and Medical Group. Apoorva Patni-led Currae Healthtech Fund, Singapore-based Beenext Ventures and GrowX Ventures also participated in the seed funding round.

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