A collaboration between a Japanese drugmaker and a US company responsible for the first Food and Drug Administration-approved pill to include a digital sensor to track ingestion are expanding their partnership.
Redwood City, California-based Proteus Digital Health and Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co. – which is based in Japan but also has operations in Princeton, New Jersey – said Thursday that they would expand their global collaboration to deepen their relationship and expand development and commercialization of medicines that include Abilify MyCite and others over the next five years. Abilify MyCite a form of the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug Abilify (aripiprazole) that includes a sensor embedded inside the pill that records when the medication was taken, sending a signal to a wearable patch, which in turn transmits information to a mobile application that patients can use to track their ingestion of the drug. The product was approved in November 2017.
As part of the expanded agreement, Otsuka also made an $88 million investment in Proteus, in the form of equity and other payments, to help further development of digital medicines.
While Proteus CEO said in an interview shortly after the FDA approval that the company expected Abilify MyCite early this year, currently it still has not been launched. A spokesperson for the company noted in an email that Otsuka announced in August that it had formed its first agreement to bring the product to the US market, with Magellan Health, and the first implementations are expected by the end of this year. Because Abilify MyCite is the first digital medicine to win FDA approval, it takes time for payers to adapt their systems and methods to take advantage of the new information they provide, as well as to integrate them into the workflows of providers in their practices, the spokesperson explained.
The two companies originally entered into the partnership in July 2012, based on Otsuka’s pharmaceutical products and Proteus’s digital health feedback system using its sensor-based technology.
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