Pharma giant Otsuka is rolling out a new kidney focused platform called NephU that provides online resources about nephrology conditions and a place for clinicians to collaborate and share information amongst themselves, and with patients.
Users will be able to tap into an online library of resources that include video, audio, webinars and podcasts. According to the site, the “community” includes a number of stakeholders, ranging from nephrologists, to dieticians and researchers, to administrators. The site has what it calls community corners, or sections targeted at a specific medical profession. For example, there is are corners for nurses, a pharmacist, payers, advanced practice providers and physicians.
“We are excited to launch NephU as a value-added resource to the nephrology community. We plan to offer a wide range of information and resources in areas such as polycystic kidney disease (PKD) and other hereditary kidney diseases, general chronic kidney disease, anemia associated with Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD), renal replacement therapy options, and behavioral health for people living with kidney conditions,” Reza Moghadam, senior director, Field Medical Affairs, said in a statement. “Our goal is to expand and excite the conversation regarding best practices for kidney care and health. In the future, we plan to offer a microsite where patients and caregivers can directly access content.”
WHY IT MATTERS
According to the CDC, 6 million adults in the U.S. have been diagnosed with kidney disease. In fact, in 2017 it was the ninth leading cause of death in the country. Diabetes, high blood pressure and a family history are factors that can put individuals at a higher risk for kidney disease.
THE LARGER TREND
Otsuka has a long history of working in the kidney disease space. In 2018 it landed FDA clearance for the first treatment of autosomal dominant polycystic kidney disease (ADPKD).
Otsuka has also been interested in digital adherence space for some time as well. It previously inked a five-year deal with digital health company Proteus, paying out $88 million towards the continued development and commercialization of an ingestible sensor-pill platform, as well as a wider investigation of digital medicines. In 2017 the companies won FDA clearance for a digital ingestion-tracking system, called Abilify MyCite, which is prescribed for treatment of schizophrenia, for acute treatment of manic and mixed episodes associated with bipolar disorder, and as an add on for depression.
But last January, following news of hardship at Proteus, Otsuka announced that it will be parting ways with the digital health company and pivoting from its current primary focus on mental health disorders towards cancers and infectious-disease treatments. The pharma giant acquired the full license to Proteus’ mental health treatment and adherence tech. Since then Proteus has filed for bankruptcy.