Aptar to operate, develop Biogen’s lifestyle support apps for MS

Aby/Cleo 'companion' app among first to switch operations in new deal

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by Mary Chapman |

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Under a new agreement, Biogen is transferring ownership of certain digital health solutions — including two existing mobile applications, or apps, offering lifestyle support to people with multiple sclerosis (MS) — to Aptar Digital Health.

The collaboration calls for Aptar, part of AptarGroup, to handle product design and management, as well as the development and maintenance of software applications, cloud hosting, and customer and marketing support.

As part of the multi-year enterprise agreement, the companies also plan to collaborate to potentially develop and commercialize new digital support solutions in certain countries that also would help in managing spinal muscular atrophy, Friedreich’s ataxia, and lupus.

“We are excited to leverage our end-to-end capabilities to support Biogen and enable patients and their care teams to benefit from advanced digital solutions for better disease management,” Pierre Leurent, president of Aptar, said in a company press release.

“With this new agreement, Aptar Digital Health’s activities are significantly expanding in neurology and immunology, two strategic therapeutic areas. We look forward to an exciting collaboration between both our groups in the coming years,” Leurent added.

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MS app aims to empower patients, inform clinicians via at-home testing

Lifestyle companion apps offer info, tools for managing MS

One so-called companion app for MS — known as Aby in the U.S. and Canada, and Cleo in Europe — is among the first of Biogen’s digital solutions to shift to Aptar operation. The Aby/Cleo lifestyle support app, in use in North America, Europe, the Asia-Pacific region, and Latin America, offers 24-hour support for those with MS, regardless of their treatment plan.

The app features up-to-date disease information, symptom tracking, treatment reminders, and tips for better day-to-day living with the progressive neurodegenerative disorder. Also provided on the app are customized self-care programs on topics such as fatigue, emotions management, diet, and exercise, as well as answers to general lifestyle questions.

MS patients — and caregivers, advocacy groups, and even healthcare professionals — often seek a way to easily gain educational and other support in one place. Biogen developed this companion app to address that, with input from more than 100 patients across multiple countries.

Generally, the app features a number of requests from these participants, along with replies tailored to their culture and in their native language. The aim of the app is to offer the latest information about living with multiple sclerosis.

Patients also had sought a journal for real-time tracking of symptoms, moods, and activities, according to Biogen. The now-available tracker also can compile downloadable reports for doctor visits.

Because patients wanted health and wellness programs, the app includes exercises and activities that can be personalized to three intensity levels. Finally, patients also wanted, and got, a way to pose general questions about MS via text messages. Patient data is safeguarded, and none is sold, the company says.

Another app also transitioning to Aptar is Physio.me, a digital exercise companion for people with MS and other nueromuscular diseases. This Biogen digital exercise tool provides remote, customized activity plans for those with neuromuscular conditions. Users can track and share their progress with their healthcare team — helping them, according to the release, to “increase their likelihood to achieve their physical goals.”

Gael Touya, Aptar Pharma’s president, said the company is looking forward to partnering with Biogen on these and other lifestyle apps.

“Biogen is a recognized pharmaceutical leader who has been at the forefront of digital health in neuroscience over the past years,” Touya said. “This flagship collaboration is an excellent illustration of Aptar’s expanding role as a go-to partner for the pharmaceutical industry, offering a comprehensive portfolio of device solutions, services and digital to help improve the lives of patients around the world.”