Japanese pharmaceutical giant Chugai and Boston-based digital therapeutics company Biofourmis announced that they have partnered to develop a digital solution for the objective assessment of pain associated with endometriosis.
Affecting one out of 10 women in their 20s to 40s, endometriosis is the repeated proliferation and shedding of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, accompanied by dysmenorrhea (pain with menstruation) and chronic lower abdominal pain. It is also a cause of infertility.
WHY IT MATTERS
Endometriosis can interfere with daily life, including absences from work or school, as sufferers find it difficult to do more than lie still when symptoms are severe. The only existing medications are hormonal agents. Moreover, if the pain cannot be controlled by drugs, the only treatment is surgical removal of the endometriotic tissue.
Unfortunately, many patients experience a recurrence several years after surgery, making this a disease that has a high level of unmet medical need.
WHAT IT’S ABOUT
The partnership leverages Biofourmis’ Biovitals platform to co-develop a novel digital technology for the objective assessment of pain using biosensors and artificial intelligence (AI)-based algorithms. The solution will be validated in a global, multi-center observational study enrolling more than 120 endometriosis patients.
The digital solution for managing patients with endometriosis in an ambulatory setting will include a wearable, clinical-grade biosensor to capture physiology biomarkers and a patient-facing mobile app to monitor symptoms, with a gamification engine for patient engagement. The AI-based technology will provide a continuous quantification of pain by applying analytics to physiology biomarkers. The platform will also include a clinician-facing web dashboard for remote review and intervention.
THE LARGER TREND
Biofourmis has been partnering with and acquiring digital health companies to expand their expertise and product offerings. In April, the company acquired Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Gaido Health, an oncology-focused digital tool, for an undisclosed sum, MobiHealthNews reported.
On the COVID-19 pandemic front, Biofourmis’ tech is being used in a remote-monitoring and disease-surveillance program in Hong Kong involving patients with diagnosed or suspected cases of COVID-19, according to a report by Healthcare IT News in March.
Last November, Biofourmis acquired Zürich, Switzerland-based wearable biosensor company Biovotion. The acquisition includes Biovotion’s clinical grade-wearable technology Everion, as well as its entire portfolio and pipeline, team, clients, partners and patents.
ON THE RECORD
“Through the partnership with Biofourmis, a leading company in research, development and commercialization of digital therapeutics, Chugai will set out to objectively assess pain associated with endometriosis and better understand its pathology,” said Satoko Shisai, Chugai’s Vice President, Head of Digital & IT Supervisory Division.
Kuldeep Singh Rajput, CEO and founder of Biofourmis, said: “Chugai aims to become a top innovator by utilizing digital technologies, and we are thrilled to partner with them.” He added: “This unique collaboration with Chugai is another indicator of the growing consensus in the healthcare industry that combining digital solutions with therapeutic developments—from discovery to patient care—is a powerful way to augment efficiency. Digital solutions can deliver faster, more reliable insights to clinicians to aid interventions, while increasing engagement and improving outcomes for patients and lowering healthcare costs for all stakeholders.”