A Bite Size Update on Digestive and Metabolic Health IT

May 21, 2021

Much like mental health, sexual health, and other conditions with social stigma, digestive health disorders cause many to suffer in silence.  Only recently has society embraced a more public discussion of digestive health, ranging from wellness and performance to clinical prevention and chronic care management.

A confluence of social acceptance, innovation, and worsening public health are key driving forces for a broad array of emerging technology companies entering the category.  Concepts like the brain-gut connection, microbiome, pro- and pre-biotics, endocrine disruptors, and fiber are now part of everyday lexicon. The food industry has developed a whole new array of clean label products with the gut in mind.  Most significantly, conditions that affect the digestive health system are quickly becoming an alarming and expensive public health issue for policy makers to solve. Health IT companies aiming to be part of the solution enter the market at different points along the digestive care management spectrum from wellness to chronic care management, evident in our market map below.

Digestive health issues trouble the American society tremendously. Below are some facts and figures that underscore this burden:

  • In the United States, the total annual healthcare expenditures for diabetes, obesity, and gastrointestinal diseases are estimated at approximately $600 billion.
  • Digestive diseases necessitate 25% of all surgical operations.
  • Colorectal cancer is the 2nd leading cause of cancer death among American men and women – and is responsible for over 51,000 deaths annually. 
  • Studies estimate that gastrointestinal organ conditions accounted for 105 million ambulatory care visits, 14 million hospital admissions, 236,000 deaths, and $142 billion in total costs every year.
  • From 1999–2000 through 2017–2018, the prevalence of obesity increased from 30.5% to 42.4%, and the prevalence of severe obesity increased from 4.7% to 9.2%. 
  • In 2018, 34.2 million Americans, or 10.5% of the population, had diabetes. Of the 34.2 million adults with diabetes, 26.8 million were diagnosed, and 7.3 million were undiagnosed. 
  • 1.5 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes every year. 

HGP evaluated the investment activity in the digestive health market (comprising nutrition, gut health, metabolic health, weight management, and diabetes management verticals) between 2015 and 2021, and identified 97 global digestive health companies that underwent M&A, buyout, or institutional funding transactions (defined as in excess of $1 mm). The total amount raised with 118 funding events among the identified companies was approximately $23.8 billion.

Detail on select transactions is included below:

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