UCD HealthTech spin-out raises €525,000 to launch a 12-month weight management program

Beyondbmi, a University College Dublin (UCD) HealthTech spin-out company supported by NovaUCD, has announced closing a €525,000 pre-seed funding round, advised by CKS Finance.

Beyondbmi has developed a 12-month weight management program, designed by the leading medical weight management experts, to enable clients achieve long-term weight loss and health gain in a sustainable way. Beyondbmi uses the latest scientific research and therapies to create individually tailored treatment plans which includes detailed assessments, medication, dietary plan, and behavioral health adjustments.

The funding will be used by the company to launch its proprietary Beyondbmi platform and demonstrate medical outcomes by giving people living with excess body fat access to doctor-prescribed weight loss medication, nutritional therapy and one-to-one accountability coaching.

Investors in this round include, John Purdy (Chairman of Ergo), Eoghan Quigley (Partner at KPMG), Conor Sheahan (Founder, CKS Finance), Paddy Dillion (Head of Corporate Finance, Grant Thornton) and Declan Magee (ex-Davy/Elkstone).

A UCD School of Medicine spin-out Beyondbmi was founded by medical doctor Dr Harriet Treacy and product designer Peter Lumley with support from senior team members including world-leading obesity scientists and clinicians, Professor Carel Le Roux and Dr Werd Al-Najim, UCD School of Medicine and UCD Conway Institute and Professor Alex Miras, Ulster University.

As a practicing doctor, I have treated 100's of patients who are experiencing health conditions they are not aware are a direct result of excess body fat. Conditions such as high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, anxiety and depression and increasingly, female health challenges like PCOS and infertility. Until now, I have had few medically-proven solutions I can point them towards to manage weight issues. This led me to spend time with global obesity experts to understand how we could design a solution which was based on the science of obesity."

Dr Harriet Treacy, Co-Founder, Beyondbmi

She added, "According to the World Health Organization it is now estimated that over 60% of the population are living with overweight or obesity with a staggering 220 health complications directly linked to these. Our mission at Beyondbmi is to provide a scientifically-based alternative to the outdated approach of 'eat less, move more' which, research has shown, is an ineffective long-term approach to weight management. For too long, the symptom of hunger associated with excess fat accumulation has been treated as an issue of willpower which causes untold harm to people who often internalise the failure of the treatment as a personal or moral failure."

"Thankfully, we now have more effective solutions in the form of new medical drug treatments, combined with nutritional therapy and behavioural support which targets the underlying biology responsible for the feeling of hunger. This results in, on average, 15% weight loss over little more than a year as demonstrated in the STEP trials, and we are excited that Beyondbmi will provide a solution that aims to deliver these results in a real world setting."

Peter Lumley, co-founder, Beyondbmi, said, "We have designed bespoke technology, which includes both a client and clinician facing portal, to meet the specific needs of clients living with obesity and clinicians practising obesity medicine. This allows us to deliver more coordinated, obesity-specific multidisciplinary care, which is difficult to achieve using legacy, generalist EHR [Electronic health records] systems."

Dr Treacy concluded, "It's worth noting that Ireland has really put itself on the map by launching Europe's first obesity guidelines last year [26th October 2022]. The momentum is building for better solutions across Europe, and we believe Ireland is the perfect launchpad for Beyondbmi to provide a national and global solution in the near future."

The Beyondbmi Board will be chaired by John Purdy and will include Dr Harriet Treacy, Peter Lumley and Professor Carel Le Roux.

Beyondbmi completed the 2021 UCD VentureLaunch Accelerator Programme run by NovaUCD. The company was established in 2022 following the completion of an Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation Fund research project.

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