Graduation time for the Digital Garden 2021

Almirall’s Digital Garden is supporting Vila Health in transforming Chronic Disease Care by making early and innovative mental health support an integral part of it

Vila Health is part of the 2nd harvest of Almirall’s acceleration program, which aims to help innovative, technology-based start-ups with patient-focused solutions reach their next milestones and foster meaningful collaboration


The challenge is huge: at least 1/3 of all patients living with a physical chronic disease additionally develop mental comorbidities such as depression.

And no wonder, -while current healthcare systems are able to provide patients with advanced medical support and treatments, who takes care of the rest and of the questions of how to actually live with the chronic disease on a daily basis? Who helps to find coping strategies early-on on a patient’s care journey? In most cases, unfortunately no one, until it’s too late, resulting in the further loss of quality of life for patients and an additional cost burden for healthcare systems estimated in the billions.


To tackle this complex problem, Vila is building innovative, digital, and empathic solutions that create enjoyable experiences along the psychosocial care journey. These solutions are meant to accompany patients and guide them through the psychosocial challenges of living with a physical chronic disease.

Patients are digitally guided through gamified and interactive conversations along multiple care dimensions, providing evidence-based psychosocial support and, ultimately, forming a journey towards mental well-being despite having a chronic disease. At the same time, smart Real World Data is contributing to research to better understand indications and patient needs along the entire care journey.

The smart and flexible platform solution is applicable across indications and Vila is currently focusing on chronic inflammatory autoimmune diseases.

Garden Experience:

We are thrilled that the Digital Garden shares our vision and welcomed us to participate in the 2021 cohort.

Since joining the Program in January, Vila is supported and accompanied by four Almirall mentors from different functions and backgrounds within the organization. This close group quickly became a regular, valuable and trusted source of advice along our journey. They are always accessible and available for advice and it’s also been great to share a laugh in between.

Almirall’s mentor team provides an important outside -as well as pharma- perspective on Vila. It helped us to focus our go-to-market strategy and was also able to connect us with a variety of experts within Almirall.  For a young digital therapeutic company, having access to different functions and years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry is invaluable. This way we could, for example, tap into enormous expertise from Market Access and R&D professionals.

Our mentors, on the other hand, got first row seats -or let’s say garden benches- on the journey of a young digital therapeutics company, with its successes and challenges along the way. It might seem like a different universe at times, but in the end, we strongly believe that the synergies created will truly make the difference for patients.

What’s next? We are looking forward to further blooming together and making innovative, patient-focused mental health support accessible to those who need it. Having taken place during unusual Covid times, we are also much looking forward to meeting our extended Almirall-Team and the other Digital Garden startups soon!

Laura Korcik, Founder & MD Vila Health