Sanofi's deal with Abbott will be focusing on the diabetes space, while its deal with Happify will be looking at treating MS symptoms.

Sanofi targets digital by cutting new deals with Abbott, Happify

By Laura Lovett
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Sanofi has been active in the digital space this week inking two big deals: one with tech company Abbott and the other with digital platform Happify. 

The first partnership with Abbott will combine the medtech company’s FreeStyle Libre, a continuous glucose monitoring system, and the pharma giant’s insulin dosing information to create smart pens and insulin titration apps. 

Sanofi is currently developing the new insulin pen and cloud software. Once the pen is released, this non-exclusive collaboration will enable FreeStyle Libre’s app to share information with the pen once it is on the market. 

Sanofi’s deal with Happify is focused on treating multiple sclerosis symptoms, in particular anxiety and depression. The pair are collaborating on a digital therapeutic app to help people manage and improve their psychological outcomes. The plan is to develop and test the app in clinical trials before seeking FDA clearance. 

“Physical health and mental health are linked,” Ameet Nathwani, chief digital officer and chief medical officer of Sanofi, said in a statement. “Through its collaboration with Happify Health, Sanofi aims to provide real-time, constant support for mental health conditions and improve quality of life.”

WHY IT MATTERS

Pharma companies are increasingly incorporating digital technologies into their business model. This often means reaching across the lines to startups and other tech stakeholders. 

“Where we want this is a true convergence, not just somebody who comes out of pure tech and tries and goes into the clinical side, or someone who comes out of medical school and takes a few computer science courses and now is somehow an expert. You really want to have a convergence of industry,” Luba Greenwood, a member of the MassBio board, told MobiHealthNews in July.  

These partnerships signal major collaborations between pharmaceuticals and med tech companies in one of the biggest areas for both: chronic conditions.

THE LARGER TREND

Sanofi has already demonstrated its interest in digital. It was one of the four pharma companies that made a deal with Alphabet subsidiary Verily to use its Project Baseline platform to make clinical study enrollment easier. 

Sanofi and Verily also have a joint venture dubbed Onduo, which is focused on digitally-driven diabetes management and foot ulcers and limb loss prevention. 

ON THE RECORD 

"For close to a century, Sanofi has been supporting those living with diabetes through our robust portfolio of medicines. This strategic relationship with Abbott is representative of the next evolution of our commitment for better diabetes care by incorporating digital tools into the daily life of people living with diabetes," Gustavo Pesquin, SVP of global diabetes and cardiovascular franchise at Sanofi, said in a statement. "By partnering with Abbott, we are a step closer to realizing our connected ecosystem, which would help improve control and the quality of life decision cycle for patients through individualized glycemic management of diabetes."