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Diabetes Reversal Leader Virta Health Appoints Public Policy Veteran Cybele Bjorklund to Lead Government Efforts

June 9, 2021
June 9, 2021

Following a $133M Series E round, Virta boosts its leadership team with Bjorklund—a Johns-Hopkins, Sanofi, and Capitol Hill alum—alongside key internal promotions

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (June 9, 2021)—Virta Health, the type 2 diabetes reversal leader, today announced several additions to its executive team, including the appointment of Cybele Bjorklund as Senior Vice President (SVP) of Policy and Government Affairs. Accompanying Bjorklund’s hire are the promotions of Divya Bhat to Chief Product Officer and Amit Shah to Chief Clinical Operations Officer.

A Capitol Hill veteran, Bjorklund joins Virta to bring type 2 diabetes (T2D) reversal to the near 50% of Americans who receive healthcare coverage through a government program. 

Her addition comes at a critical moment. More than 1 in 10 Americans suffer from T2D. That number jumps to 1 in 3 for adults covered under Medicare, and 1 in 4 for VA patients. Of the $327 billion spent annually on diabetes, two-thirds is provided by government insurance, according to the American Diabetes Association.

Virta has already demonstrated the possibility to reverse this growing epidemic. In clinical and commercial settings, Virta’s T2D reversal treatment reduces or eliminates insulin prescriptions in over 90% of patients. More than 60% of all diabetes prescriptions are eliminated. Many payer customers save upwards of $5000 per patient per year, and results are consistent across diverse populations.

“Virta’s results are game-changing, categorically improving health outcomes while reducing spending. Rarely in healthcare do we see something this impactful,” said Cybele Bjorklund, SVP of Policy and Government Affairs at Virta Health. “I’m joining Virta to help make diabetes reversal available to everyone who can benefit from it.”

Prior to Virta, Bjorklund served as Vice President of Federal Strategy at Johns Hopkins University & Medicine, and before that as the Head of Global Policy for Sanofi. She also held senior leadership roles in Congress, including 14 years as the Staff Director for the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health, where she played a key role in drafting and shaping the Affordable Care Act and Medicare policy.

In her new position, Bjorklund will work to expand Virta’s presence among federal, state, and city entities. This will build upon the company’s existing partnerships with groups including the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs, the State of Alabama, and several other state and local benefit programs.

“There is no bigger opportunity to deliver massive health and economic impact than through government partnerships,” said Sami Inkinen, Virta Health co-founder and CEO. “Diabetes reversal should be an option for every American who needs it. Cybele’s leadership will help get us there.”

In addition, Virta has promoted Divya Bhat to Chief Product Officer and Amit Shah to Chief Clinical Operations Officer. Bhat joined Virta in 2018 as Vice President of Product, and now leads the product, engineering, and data science functions unifying Virta's technology-driven vision for scaling diabetes reversal. Shah, formerly the Vice President of Operations, was hired in 2016 as the company’s first operations lead. Today, he heads all care teams responsible for delivering best-in-class health outcomes to patients in every U.S. state.

Together with Bjorklund, they will work to expand Virta’s reach to the millions of people living with type 2 diabetes who receive health benefits from government entities.

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