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Patient-Centered Apps

Trend Watch: Pharma Increases Consumer-Facing Apps and Digital Tools

Pfizer Launches Novel Programs To Put Important Support Services At The Fingertips Of Cancer Patients

Pfizer has developed enhanced offerings to help patients manage their life with cancer. Pfizer Oncology Together is a first-of-its-kind program for patients taking Pfizer Oncology medicines that offers dedicated social workers called Care Champions to help navigate the complexities that accompany treatment, such as identifying resources to help find emotional support, and workplace transition, transportation and financial assistance.

Pfizer launched This is Living with Cancer, a program that provides resources to support those who have been affected by cancer, including a mobile app, LivingWith, designed to help manage some of the daily challenges faced by people living with cancer. For more information about the program, visit

“Today, more than 15 million people in the United States are living with cancer and that number is expected to grow as emerging science and better therapies are likely to increase the number of patients living with cancer as we strive for a cure,” Liz Barrett, global president of Pfizer Oncology, said in a statement. “Navigating life with cancer poses many challenges for patients and their families and friends, and we hope these unique programs can help their journey.”

Roche and mySugr

Roche purchased mySugr last year, soon after mySugr reported reaching more than one million users. This partnership will accelerate mySugr’s international growth as it becomes the heart of Roche Diabetes Care’s new patient-centered digital health services. This alignment strengthens my­Sugr’s unmatched patient focus and unparalleled success. Both companies expect to be well-positioned for a rapidly changing diabetes marketplace. Roche Diabetes Care sees mySugr’s vision for the digitalization of diabetes care as a perfect fit for its evolving organization. Being a focal point for Roche Diabetes Care’s integrated digital health strategy, mySugr will remain a separate legal entity with an open platform for all diabetes devices and services used by people with diabetes. Founded in 2012, mySugr specializes in all-around care for people with diabetes. Its apps and services combine diabetes coaching, therapy management, unlimited test-strips, automated data tracking, and seamless integration with a growing number of medical devices to ease the daily burden of living with diabetes. The mySugr App is available in 52 countries and 13 languages.

Abilify MyCite, A New, Sensor-Enabled Version of Otsuka’s drug

Otsuka Pharmaceutical and Proteus Digital Health were awarded the first FDA approval of a digital medicine system, Abilify MyCite, a drug-device combination product comprised of Otsuka’s oral aripiprazole tablets embedded with an Ingestible Event Marker (IEM) sensor. The Abilify MyCite System includes: Abilify MyCite, the MyCite Patch (a wearable sensor, developed by Proteus); the MyCite app, a smartphone application, used with a compatible smartphone to display information for the patient; and web-based portals for healthcare providers and caregivers that display a summary of aripiprazole ingestion over time. Only functions of the app related to tracking drug ingestion have been approved by the FDA.

Otsuka’s approach for this first-of-its-kind treatment is novel for a pharmaceutical company. As such, the launch of the Abilify MyCite system will be conducted in close collaboration with only a select number of health plans and providers, who will identify a limited number of appropriate adults with schizophrenia, bipolar I disorder, or major depressive disorder who may benefit from this new digital medicine system. Through ongoing feedback from those using the system every day, Otsuka will further enhance the experience for all prospective users of the Abilify MyCite system. This initial limited rollout will be a crucial step in determining Otsuka’s broader go-to-market plan.

UCB Supports Social Network For Patients

San Francisco-based MyHealthTeams has added its 28th disease-specific social network and is working with UCB Pharma on an educational initiative related to the platform. MyHealthTeams is working with UCB to bring unbranded educational resources both to members of the group and others on the MyHealthTeams network who might have undiagnosed spondyloarthritis.

MySpondylitisTeam is for patients with spondyloarthritis, which encompasses several kinds of chronic and inflammatory arthritis that affect the spine, the pelvis, the joints, and the entheses. MyHealthTeams networks are online communities accessible through the web or on mobile devices.

Novartis and Pear Therapeutics to Develop Digital Therapeutics for Patients with Schizophrenia and Multiple Sclerosis

Novartis has entered into a collaboration with Pear Therapeutics to develop novel prescription digital therapeutics, software applications designed to effectively treat disease and improve clinical outcomes for patients. The collaboration brings together Novartis expertise in biomedical research and clinical development with Pear’s leading experience in digital therapeutics design and implementation.

Novartis and Pear will work together toward developing new treatments for patients with schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis to better address the full burden of their illnesses. Pear’s prescription digital therapeutics are designed to deliver clinically-proven treatments such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to patients through mobile and desktop applications. Once approved, they may be prescribed alongside drug therapies and have the potential to be developed to treat a range of diseases.

Novartis will work with Pear to advance clinical development of their THRIVE digital therapeutic for patients with schizophrenia. THRIVE has demonstrated potential usability, retention and preliminary efficacy in patients with schizophrenia in early clinical studies. The companies will also collaborate to design and develop a new therapeutic application to address underserved mental health burden in patients with multiple sclerosis.

This collaboration is part of Novartis’ strategic effort to work with innovative digital health leaders to drive the next wave of medical innovation. Novartis is collaborating to develop technologies to monitor patient data in real-time, detect day-to-day behavioral and biological changes in condition, improve patient adherence, and ultimately enhance treatment outcomes. Pear is a leader in developing prescription digital therapeutics, gaining the first FDA clearance, in September 2017, for a software application with a safety and efficacy label to treat patients. Novartis invested in Pear’s Series B round of financing announced in January 2018.

2Morrow Launches Pain Management app

Seattle startup 2Morrow Inc. recently added its latest tech alternative for pain relief to its suite of health apps: An app to help people manage chronic pain. The app uses the same scientific foundations as 2Morrow’s smoking cessation and weight loss programs. The app was developed by 2Morrow researchers, along with Dr. Kevin Vowles, a clinical psychologist and pain expert at the University of New Mexico. It uses the principles of Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) to help patients cope with pain, an approach that has been studied extensively.

The program’s focus is to help users set manageable goals and learn how to live with pain instead of trying to eliminate it, which normally isn’t possible for chronic patients.

Express Scripts, Propeller Partner To Make Inhaler Sensor More Widely Available

Express Scripts and Propeller — owner of the FDA-cleared digital platform for respiratory health — have partnered to create the largest respiratory digital health deployment with a pharmacy benefit manager.

The Propeller system allows patients to attach a sensor to their inhaler, which is synced to an app on the users smart phone. When a patient uses the medication, the system automatically sends information to a clinician. The app also uses the collected data to deliver insights and suggestions to patients.

The company reports that users experience 70% fewer asthma attacks, and take their doses on schedule 50% more often when using the sensor.

As part of the new partnership, pharmacists at Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Therapeutic Resource center will review inhaler activity trends and will be able to see when a patient is overusing their rescue inhaler or is non-adherent with their controller medication.

The companies plan to launch the service to patients enrolled in Express Scripts’ Pulmonary Care Value Program in early 2018.

Propeller Health also expanded its collaboration with GSK, enabling both companies to prepare for and undertake commercial activities using the Propeller clip-on sensor and software platform for use with GSK’s ELLIPTA Inhaler. The companies will continue ongoing research and development efforts to collect evidence from the Propeller clip-on sensor and software platform used in conjunction with GSK’s respiratory medicines for asthma and COPD.(PV)

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