Aptar Pharma, Kali Care partner on smart sensor for eye drop adherence

By Jonah Comstock
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Crystal Lake, Illinois-based Aptar Pharma is teaming up with digital health startup Kali Care to develop a new way of measuring adherence to eye drops in clinical trials. 

Because they are somewhat onerous to use, eye drops have even lower rates of adherence than other medications. Kali Care, based in Silicon Valley, makes a small sensor that can be installed in a container for eye drop medications. The sensors can detect when the bottle is opened and closed, when drops leave the container, and how many. The software can even pick up on the particular way each person applies eye drops, and after five or six days of use it can detect when someone else is using it.

In addition to the sensor itself, Kali Care offers an analytics platform and various ways to act upon the data and generate positive feedback loops with patients. 

At a presentation last year to the Ophtalmology Futures Forum in Copenhagen, CEO Dr. Sena Fateh said that the company was already eyeing the clinical trial space as a natural home for the technology.

"As you know, adherence in trial is very low and there is no way to know how people take their medication," he said at the time. "Right now, it’s paper, subjective input, not accurate. We change that. It’s objective data and the investigator can see it all with one click.”

The benefit for Aptar is the ability to use the technology in its own clinical trials. For Kali Care, Fateh said in a statement, Aptar's regulatory expertise should help the company move thorugh its own regulatory hurdles. 

 “Clinicians are now able to rely on objective and accurate data," Fateh and Aptar President Salim Haffar said in a joint statement. "Aptar Pharma’s leading dispensing technologies combined with Kali Care’s smart sensors, data analytics and cloud services will help make clinical trials more efficient and effective. This allows ophthalmologists to improve risk strategies to distinguish patients requiring minimal support from those who require closer monitoring.”

This isn't Aptar's first venture into adherence monitoring via connected delivery devices. Aptar was one of the first pharma companies to partner with Propeller Health to develop connected versions of its inhalers.