Biofourmis quietly parts company with CEO Rajput

Kuldeep Singh Rajput of Biofourmis

It has emerged that digital health company Biofourmis is in need of a new chief executive after co-founder Kuldeep Singh Rajput stepped down from the role.

Rajput's departure comes shortly after the company announced it was laying off 120 employees worldwide, and 18 months after it raised $320 million in fourth-round financing that sent its value soaring to around $1.3 billion, making it a digital health 'unicorn'.

The Boston-based start-up – which has a business model straddling digital therapeutics (DTx), artificial intelligence-powered patient management, and provision of virtual care – will be led for now by Ben Wanamaker, a partner at investor General Atlantic, which led the Series D.

Wanamaker will take charge of the company while the search for a new CEO goes on, but, according to a Biofourmis statement, Rajput "remains committed to providing support and advice to the company going forward" and still retains a seat on the board.

According to a DealStreetAsia report, Rajput was coming under pressure from General Atlantic to slow down the pursuit of growth at Biofourmis and focus on profitability, with the backer keen to restructure the company in preparation for an initial public offering (IPO) in the coming years. Wanamaker has also joined Biofourmis' board.

The CEO departure at Biofourmis comes at something of an inflection point for the digital health industry, with the flow of investment money into the sector during the pandemic slowing down and some of its talismanic pioneers – notably, Pear Therapeutics and Babylon Health – forced into bankruptcy and sold off for parts.

There's no suggestion, yet, that Biofourmis is in any sort of trouble and, when it announced the layoffs, the company said it was more about finding the "right structure" for its future plans.

Biofourmis has raised $465 million since its formation in 2015 from heavyweight backers, including Intel, CVS Health, Tenet Healthcare, and SCAN Group, and has recently appointed former CEO of medical device specialist Medtronic and tech giant Intel's chair, Dr Omar Ishrak, as chairman of the board. It can also point to a series of partnerships with companies like Novartis, AstraZeneca, and Chugai Pharma, which speak to the robustness of its platforms.

At the core of all its activities is an AI-based data analytics and biosensor platform that can be used to remotely monitor patients, and how they respond to treatment. The heart of the Biovitals platform was approved by the FDA in 2019, and has since been extended into a series of disease-specific predictive management tools.

The company became the first to win breakthrough status for a DTx product in the US in 2021, claiming the accolade for BiovitalsHF, which uses software algorithms and wearable sensors to help direct drug treatment for heart failure patients.