The five-billion-yen (US$43.7 million) deal entails Jolly Good providing VR goggles, tablet devices and SST VR content for a range of scenarios, while Otsuka Pharmaceutical will compensate its partner for sales made at healthcare facilities, as well as pay sales-based royalties.
According to Jolly Good, the combined used of medications and SST – known as psychosocial therapy – reduces recurrence rate of mental disorders. However, there is a "serious" shortage of people with SST and other skills needed to provide psychosocial therapy.
The company’s VR device is aimed to fill the gap in the scant healthcare training among providers while enhancing patient therapies. Dr. Ayako Kanie, senior medical supervisor at Jolly Good, said psychiatrists are heavily involved in the development of the company’s VR content and product design.
“VR enables patients to practice in a nearly-real environment and will prepare them for success in real-life situations. This pursuit will pave the way to enabling anyone to acquire psychosocial skills,” said Kanie.
To date, Jolly Good has already deployed SST VR for developmental disorders at over 200 hospitals, clinics, welfare support centers, and other such facilities across Japan. Its high-precision medical VR systems are being deployed for various purposes from training for medical staff, patient rehabilitation to social rehabilitation training for those with disabilities.
In December, Jolly Good announced that it is going to study the efficacy of VR-based therapy for chronic pain together with the Pain Center at the Aichi Medical University Hospital.
Meanwhile, this is Otsuka Pharmaceutical's first business partnership in mental health industry using VR. Together with Jolly Good, it aims to build Japan's largest VR business in the field of healthcare for mental disorders.
“ In recent years, technological advancements have seen a growing importance placed not just medications but also on support for daily living, which includes everything from prevention to caregiving. Along with putting to use digital technologies that will go into the creation of a new business model, we will work with Jolly Good, which supports healthcare via state-of-the-art VR video technologies, to build a platform for facilitating social rehabilitation among those suffering from mental or neurological disorders,” said Makoto Inoue, president and representative director, Otsuka Pharmaceutical.