Lloyds Pharmacies to sell Proteus smart pills, sensors

By: Brian Dolan | Jan 13, 2012        

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Proteus Biomedical's Raisin system, which Helius is based on.

Proteus Biomedical's Raisin system, which Helius is based on.

UK-based retail pharmacy chain Lloydspharmacy has inked an exclusive deal with Proteus Biomedical to launch Proteus’ first commercial product, Helius, an offering that includes sensor-enabled pills, a peel-and-stick sensor patch worn on the body, and a mobile health app. The patch records when a pill is ingested, tracks sleep patterns, and records physical activity levels. The Helius offering is based on Proteus’ Raisin system, which secured a CE Mark and is expected to roll out commercially in other countries across Europe.

Lloyds will offer the Helius system as part of a personalized, medication adherence pack to its customers, which its pharmacists assemble for each individual customer. (This is a common practice in the UK and other parts of the world, but not so much in the US.)

The new Helius packs will include the components of the Helius system as well as blister packs of the customer’s drug regimen. For example, if a person takes five medications each morning, one blister pack would include all five of those medication, but it will also include a Helius tablet, which has an embedded sensor to track when it is ingested. That way, the Helius system can track when a person takes each group of pills in their drug regimen. If there are three groups of pills to take morning, noon, and night — the Helius packs include a sensor-enabled tablet with each group.

Three years ago I was on a panel with Proteus Biomedical’s CEO Andrew Thompson who estimated that his company’s market opportunity was $100 billion. The deal with Lloyd’s marks the first commercialization of the company’s intelligent medicine offering.

“Lloydspharmacy is committed to improving positive health outcomes for patients and the Helius system is an exciting development which takes our current medication adherence offering to a whole new level,” Steve Gray,  Director of Lloydspharmacy Healthcare Services Director stated in a company press release. “There is a huge problem with medicines not being taken correctly. Anyone taking several medications knows how easy it can be to lose track of whether or not you’ve taken the correct tablets that day. Add to that complex health issues and families caring for loved ones who may not live with them and you can appreciate the benefits of an information service that helps patients get the most from their treatments and for families to help them remain well.”

In an email to MobiHealthNews, Proteus Biomedical’s Chief Product Officer David O’Reilly, said that Proteus believes all retail pharmacies will eventually make similar moves to the one Lloyds made this week:

“The Helius product we launch with Lloyds in the UK this year represents the direction we see all pharmacy businesses in the US and Europe headed — away from selling just pills and toward selling information-based health solutions with the community pharmacist at the core,” O’Reilly wrote.

The World Health Organization estimates that about 50 percent of patients do not take their medications correctly, which can result in not getting the medications full benefit or being at-risk for harmful reactions. According to the companies, the UK’s NHS pegs the costs of unused prescription medicine in that country at around 396 million British Pounds annually.

In mid-2009, Proteus Biomedical CEO Andrew Thompson predicted that China would likely be the first market it launched its system in — not the US or UK. In early 2010 Novartis announced that it had invested $24 million in Proteus and that it had exclusive rights to use the technology with specific types of therapies, including those used for organ transplant patients. While Proteus has yet to launch Helius or a similar technology commercially in the US yet, it did receive FDA clearance for the peel-and-stick sensor patch in early 2010. Proteus first announced that the UK’s NHS began testing its system back in mid-2010. Last July the company secured a patent for the technology. Proteus inked a deal with Avery Dennison and has licensed the technology to other companies, including BodyMedia for the disposable fitness patch it just launched at CES. Proteus also has partnerships with Medtronic, ON Semiconductor, and Kaiser Permanente.

For more on the deal Proteus inked with Lloydspharmacy, read the full press release below:

REDWOOD CITY, Calif., Jan 13, 2012 — UK community pharmacy chain Lloydspharmacy and US company Proteus Biomedical, Inc., a pioneer in digital health, have today announced an exclusive strategic collaboration to commercialize and launch Helius(TM), a digital health product focused on consumers and family caregivers. Helius has been designed to provide assurance and peace of mind to individuals struggling with complex medication regimens and health issues, and to connect these individuals to the family, friends and professionals caring for them. As part of the agreement with Proteus, Lloydspharmacy will launch Helius in the UK and sell the system through selected pharmacies. Helius will be paid for by consumers and their families.

Combining sensor-enabled tablets, a sensor patch worn on the body, an advanced mobile health (mHealth) application and information service, and Lloydspharmacy’s current medication adherence packaging, Helius allows consumers to remain independent in their own homes and their loved ones to help take care of them. Helius helps to monitor when medications have been taken along with a range of additional patient information including sleep patterns and physical activity. These metrics are then combined to provide useful information to allow the patient, carer or family member to follow progress and collaborate on maintaining patient wellness.

The World Health Organisation estimates 50% of patients fail to take their medicines correctly. This can result in patients not gaining the full benefit of their treatment, or worse, being at risk of harmful reactions. Unused prescription medicine is also estimated to cost the NHS in the UK around GBP 396 million a year.

Commenting on the new partnership, Andrew Thompson, Chief Executive Officer at Proteus, said: “We are delighted to be working with Lloydspharmacy to launch Helius in the UK. Proteus and Lloydspharmacy share a common vision of how advancements in technology can be captured to improve the well being of patients struggling with complex medication regimes and health issues. The intimate knowledge that Lloydspharmacy’s healthcare teams have of their communities, patients and families makes the company a perfect partner with which to introduce a patient-focused service like Helius.”

Steve Gray, Lloydspharmacy Healthcare Services Director, added: “Lloydspharmacy is committed to improving positive health outcomes for patients and the Helius system is an exciting development which takes our current medication adherence offering to a whole new level. There is a huge problem with medicines not being taken correctly. Anyone taking several medications knows how easy it can be to lose track of whether or not you’ve taken the correct tablets that day. Add to that complex health issues and families caring for loved ones who may not live with them and you can appreciate the benefits of an information service that helps patients get the most from their treatments and for families to help them remain well.”

Notes to editors

1. World Health Organisation http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs338/en/index.html

2. Source: A report by the York Health Economics Consortium and the School of Pharmacy at the University of London in 2010, which showed unused prescription medicines cost the NHS in England at least GBP 300 million with at least 50 per cent avoidable. Unused medicines in Scotland cost GBP 46million (source: http://www.scotland.gov.uk/Resource/Doc/919/0102128.pdf ) and in Wales cost GBP 50million (source: http://www.publicfinance.co.uk/news/2010/09/wales-aims-to-cut-the-50m-spent-on-unused-medicines/ )

About Proteus Biomedical, Inc.

Proteus Biomedical is pioneering digital health care, an emerging field of advanced therapies that integrate in-body and on-body sensor and mobile communications technologies into existing pharmaceutical, medical device and consumer products. Proteus is developing and commercializing a range of digital health care products in partnership with global leaders from multiple industries, including Novartis, Medtronic, ON Semiconductor, Kaiser Permanente and Lloydspharmacy. Proteus is also establishing digital health technology standards by non-exclusively licensing aspects of its platform to an ecosystem of partners that embed Proteus innovations into their own branded products, including Avery Dennison and BodyMedia for the Metria(TM) line of wearable sensor products. More information about Proteus Biomedical can be found at www.proteusbiomed.com .

About Lloydspharmacy

Lloydspharmacy has over 1640 pharmacies across the UK. These are based predominantly in community and health centre locations. The company employs over 17,000 staff and dispenses over 150 million prescription items annually.

Lloydspharmacy which is a community pharmacy has primary care at the heart of its business. This is why it has launched a range of products aimed at improving community health such as affordable blood pressure monitors and allergy relievers, as well as a suite of convenient professional health check services including free blood pressure and diabetes testing, and cholesterol and heart checks in the comfort of a private consultation room.

Lloydspharmacy is the trading name of Lloydspharmacy Ltd, a wholly owned subsidiary of Celesio AG based in Stuttgart.

Celesio is one of the leading international service providers within the pharmaceutical and healthcare markets. It is active in 27 countries worldwide and employs approximately 47,000 employees in our three divisions Patient and Consumer Solutions, Pharmacy Solutions and Manufacturer Solutions.

Just under 2,300 of Celesio’s own retail pharmacies, as part of Patient and Consumer Solutions, serve over 550,000 customers every day. In its wholesale activities, the core business of Pharmacy Solutions, more than 130 wholesale branches deliver to around 65,000 pharmacies — day in, day out. In the Manufacturer Solutions division, it offers pharmaceutical manufacturers logistics, marketing and sales solutions and operate in the area of Efficient Care Pharma

Some key facts about Lloydspharmacy:

– In 2010 Lloydspharmacy had turnover of GBP 1.8 billion

– We dispensed over 150 million items

– Over 1.3 million free Type 2 diabetes screening tests with 75,000 people referred to their GP

– Over 1.7 million blood pressure tests completed to date

– Lloydspharmacy offers more private consultation areas than any other pharmacy — currently they are available in 97% of Lloydspharmacy pharmacies

– Finalist in the UK Customer Satisfaction Awards 2012 (Customer Focus, large enterprise)

– Lloydspharmacy’s national charity partner is the British Heart Foundation

– In 2011 Lloydspharmacy was accredited with Investors in People (IiP) — for the fourth time in a row.

Photos/Multimedia Gallery Available: http://www.businesswire.com/cgi-bin/mmg.cgi?eid=50132345&lang=en

SOURCE: Proteus Biomedical, Inc.