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Trend: Pharma industry warming up to digital therapeutics

– Som­ryst app by Pear Ther­a­peu­tics

Dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics have poten­tial but com­mer­cial suc­cess unproven (Van­tage):

Devel­op­ing drugs to treat dis­or­ders of the cen­tral ner­vous sys­tem is famous­ly fraught with dif­fi­cul­ty. Sev­er­al com­pa­nies, includ­ing Pear Ther­a­peu­tics and Dthera, are tak­ing a wild­ly dif­fer­ent approach: dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tics. These are pieces of soft­ware designed to treat dis­ease that are reg­u­lat­ed, pre­scribed and even paid for as if they were drugs … Pear is so far the only com­pa­ny to have brought a dig­i­tal ther­a­peu­tic to mar­ket – but it is by no means the only com­pa­ny in this space. Akili Inter­ac­tive has­filed for FDA approval of AKL-T01, a com­put­er game designed to treat ADHD, and anoth­er prod­uct, AKL-T02, is in late-stage devel­op­ment for cog­ni­tive dys­func­tion in chil­dren with autism spec­trum dis­or­der.

And Akili, like Pear, has received gen­er­ous finan­cial back­ing from ven­ture investors. Akili raised $68m in a series C round last year from investors includ­ing Mer­ck Ven­tures and Temasek, Singapore’s Nation­al Wealth Fund. Pear’s $64m series C, also involv­ing Temasek with oth­er back­ers includ­ing Novar­tis, was one of this year’s biggest.

Click Ther­a­peu­tics, which makes apps for var­i­ous neu­ro­log­i­cal con­di­tions and has part­nered with Otsu­ka on the devel­op­ment and sale of its depres­sion ther­a­peu­tic CT-152, counts Sanofi and Hik­ma Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals among its investors.

Per­haps drug com­pa­nies see the devel­op­ment of dig­i­tal prod­ucts as a way of wring­ing some kind of finan­cial reward out of CNS dis­or­ders giv­en the dif­fi­cul­ty of devel­op­ing drugs in this area.”

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Categories: Cognitive Neuroscience, Health & Wellness, Technology

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