Novartis, Pear Collaborating on Digital Therapeutics to Treat MS, Schizophrenia

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by Diogo Pinto |

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Novartis and Pear Therapeutics are joining forces to develop novel prescription digital therapeutics to treat patients with schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis (MS).

Digital therapeutics are software applications designed to treat diseases and improve clinical outcomes for patients. Combining Novartis’ expertise in biomedical research and clinical development with Pear’s knowledge in digital therapeutics will allow the companies to create these innovative treatment tools.

Pear Therapeutics is a leader in the development of prescription digital therapeutics, including patient-facing applications, clinical assessment and outcomes tracking, clinician monitoring dashboards, and insurance-related data storage. Its goal is to combine clinically relevant data and approved treatment regimens, including medications or medical devices, to improve patients’ lives.

Pear has a pipeline of different products, including Thrive, the first prescription digital therapeutic developed to treat schizophrenia. It consists of a patient-facing smartphone application and clinician-facing web interface to deliver 24/7, real-time monitoring and support to patients.

Novartis and Pear will work together on advancing the clinical development of Thrive, as well as designing and developing a new digital therapeutic application to address mental health issues in MS patients.

“We look forward to working with Novartis, an organization known for excellence in biomedical sciences, to develop much needed treatments for patients suffering from schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis,” Corey McCann, MD, PhD, president and CEO of Pear, said in a press release.

“Novartis shares our vision for prescription digital therapeutics that work alongside drugs to deliver superior patient outcomes. We believe this collaboration further supports the clinical viability of prescription digital therapeutics as an emerging treatment modality and we are poised to execute on that opportunity,” he said.

Novartis’ investment in Pear is part of a strategy that points to emerging digital technologies as the next wave of medical innovation in growing areas of healthcare.

“Psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases place a heavy physical, mental and economic burden on patients and their families,” said Jay Bradner, MD, president of the Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research. “With widespread adoption of digital devices, prescription digital therapeutics could potentially play an important role in future treatment models for a range of diseases with high unmet medical need.”

The company is building alliances aimed at developing technologies to monitor patient data in real time, detect behavioral and biological changes associated with a certain condition, enhance patient engagement, and ultimately improve treatment outcomes. Previous Novartis collaborations aimed at advancing digital technologies for MS patients include Sage Bionetworks, Microsoft, and Icometrix.

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