Nordic company SideKickHealth has announced today that it entered a strategic partnership with Bayer to provide a digital medication management and lifestyle change platform to patients with Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD).
While there is no cure, according to the NHS, lifestyle changes and medicine can help reduce the symptoms of patients with PAD. The condition was estimated to affect over 236 million people globally in 2015, based on an analysis published in The Lancet Global Health this August.
WHAT THEY DO
Founded by two doctors, SideKick develops gamified digital therapeutic products and programmes, working with pharma and healthcare industry partners. Their aim is to improve chronic disease management across several therapeutic areas, including Type 2 diabetes and ulcerative colitis.
The company’s deal with Bayer, which will see them initially launch the PAD programme in Sweden, follows Sidekick’s inclusion in Bayer’s G4A scheme in 2018.
At the moment, the Nordic company is planning its Series A, with previous backers Novator Partners and Frumtak Ventures said to be leading the round. They previously secured €7.5m in seed rounds.
In addition to the new partnership, MobiHealthNews understands Sidekick has signed a separate multi-million euro deal with another major pharma player, which is expected to be revealed early next year.
WHY IT MATTERS
The announcement comes at a tumultuous time for digital-pharma collaborations, following reports of cooling relations between Proteus Digital Health and Otsuka Pharmaceuticals, as well as Sanofi's decision to reduce its involvement in Onduo, its joint venture with Verily, and the end of a commercialisation partnership between Pear Therapeutics and Novartis division Sandoz.
But while these updates will raise concerns, many argue that the industry should see them as a learning opportunity.
“[Digital health and pharma are] doing partnerships that haven’t existed before and we’re trying new ways of development and deployment,” Chris Hogg, chief commercial officer at Propeller Health, told MobiHealthNews last week.
“It’s kind of inevitable that certain things won’t work, and certain things will work. So, it’s not really surprising to me that maybe some of these partnerships haven’t worked out the way people thought they would. If they all worked out perfectly, this market would be a lot easier and there would be more companies in it,” Hogg added.
ON THE RECORD
Revealing the new deal with Bayer, Sidekick cofounder and chief executive Tryggvi Thorgeirsson said in a statement: “Lifestyle change is at the heart of what we do, and our programs can have a multiplier effect on the positive outcomes of medical care and the world’s best medicines. We reinforce medication adherence and use it as a gateway to bring about positive lifestyle change in a much broader sense. We are excited to be working with Bayer to help patients take that first step and beyond.”