USA – Video game-based therapeutic developer Akili Interactive has announced the appointment of game industry veteran Jon David as chief product officer, a position in which he will be responsible for developing and executing the company’s strategic vision for its future product pipeline.

CEO Eddie Martucci said David’s “results-driven background in creating intentionally designed, deeply enjoyable, and industry-changing consumer products will be instrumental as we advance our mission to pioneer treatments that truly have the feel and stickiness of consumer entertainment products.”

Prior to joining Akili, David was vice president and general manager at Glu Mobile, where he was in charge of both new IP and hit franchise development.

He was previously the CEO of Taunt, a fan engagement technology company, where he was instrumental in launching the service across web and mobile streaming platforms and strengthening social engagement between streamers and “esports” fans.

David also spent more than ten years at PopCap Games, where he was vice president of social games, and has held various positions at Microsoft.

The opportunity Akili offers to patients to ‘play their medicine,’ is uniquely powerful,” he said, adding “I’m looking forward to bringing even more joy and magic to the Akili product experience as we grow.”

He joins Akili at a critical juncture in its history, as it prepares for a public listing through a merger with special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Social Capital Suvretta Holdings Corp I.

The transaction is expected to generate up to US$412 million in gross cash proceeds when it closes in mid-2022.

“Reprogramming” brains of children with ADHD

Akili Interactive created a prescription digital therapeutic video game to help children 8 to 12 with ADHD “reprogram” their brains.

Akili’s first product, EndeavorRx, was the first prescription gaming app approved by the FDA for the treatment of attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).

Follow-up products for other conditions, such as multiple sclerosis, autism, and depression, are being developed by the company.

According to market research firm GMI, the company is addressing a growth market valued at around US$25 billion in 2020 and expected to grow at a rate of around 15% per year to reach US$65 billion in 2027.

One of the main drivers of that growth is the rise of mobile gaming, as well as the growing acceptance of gamified treatment in the healthcare industry.

Children navigate an alien avatar in the game and respond to on-screen prompts as part of the therapy. Akili created the app to track the patient’s movements in order to monitor and adapt to the player’s behavior.

While the company’s first product is for ADHD, it plans to expand its prescription digital therapeutics to treat other chronic and acute cognitive disorders in the future.

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