Novartis, Proteus pilot to lead to exclusive deal?

By: Brian Dolan | Sep 22, 2009        

Tags: | | | |  |

Proteus Biomedical's "smart pill"

Pharmaceutical giant Novartis has tapped intelligent medicine start-up Proteus Biomedical for a small 20 patient study to track patients’ compliance with their blood pressure drug regimen. The patients are taking blood pressure drug Diovan and the study organizers track their compliance via Proteus’ “chip in the pill” technology, which reports to a receiver sensor on the patient’s shoulder when the medication has been ingested. The study has improved compliance from 30 percent to 80 percent after six months, according to Novartis.

Proteus’ Raisin technology runs on an electric charge generated by the patient’s stomach acid. The charge is detected through the patient’s body by a sensing patch on the patient’s skin. The patch records the time and date that the pill is digested and also measures some vitals like heart rate, activity and respiratory patterns. The information is then sent to the patient’s mobile phone and then onto the internet for caregivers to review and analyze.

“This industry is starting to explode,” Joe Jimenez, head of pharmaceuticals at Novartis, told the Financial Times. Jimenez is toying with the idea of hiring a “compliance tsar” to oversee the company’s partnerships and initiatives in this area. Jimenez told the newspaper that challenges to widespread adoption of Proteus’ technology for Novartis would include the obvious regulatory concerns, but, interestingly, Jimenez stressed that Novartis would also have to “negotiate an exclusive contract with Proteus in order to expand the approach,” according to the report.

An exclusive deal with Novartis? That would be a huge deal for Proteus Biomedical, but during a panel session at CTIA last year that MobiHealthNews helped organize, Proteus CEO Andrew Thompson pegged his company’s market opportunity at $100 billion.

Regardless, news of Novartis’ trial with Proteus Biomedical is a huge boon for intelligent medicine, personalized medicine, compliance solutions and advanced medical sensors.

“We’ll do all of this for the same price as the drugs you buy now,” Thompson explained during an interview earlier this year. “For one daily price of your medicine you get the drug, the monitoring, the applications and tools, the incentives and the connectivity.”

Read the Financial Times post here