California hospital becomes first in US to prescribe ingestible sensors from Proteus

By Jonah Comstock
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Redwood City, California-based Proteus Digital Health announced its first US healthcare provider customer, Barton Health, which will prescribe the company's Proteus Discover to patients. The company says this is the first time its technology has been implemented outside of a clinical trial setting in the US.

Barton Health, a health system in Lake Tahoe, California, will use the medication adherence platform, which includes Proteus’s FDA-cleared ingestible sensor, in populations with uncontrolled and co-morbid hypertension. Implementation for other chronic conditions will follow if the first use case goes well.

“Patients struggle with medication adherence for various reasons. When a non-adherent patient is not seeing results and the physician believes a patient is taking a medication, this may lead to unnecessary changes in treatment which can be costly for the patient and the health system,” Dr. Purvance, CEO of Barton Health, said in a statement. “This new product offering provides a data-driven communication channel between the medical provider and the patient that empowers the patient to take the appropriate dose of medication and better understand the importance of daily activity levels and other lifestyle changes.”

Barton’s specialty pharmacy services will co-encapsulate the grain-of-sand-sized sensor with select generic medications for hypertension and comorbidities. The sensor is activated automatically when it is broken down in the stomach and transmits the signal to a receiver on an adhesive patch worn by the patient. The patch then transmits data like heart rate, activity, rest, and the time the pill was taken to an app on the patient’s mobile device. The patient can then share the data with their physician, where it will appear on a dashboard app. The app also provides support and insight to the patient.

“Patients are seeking easier ways to engage in their own care; healthcare providers are looking to more effectively manage chronic conditions,” Andrew Thompson, CEO of Proteus said in a statement. “Barton is among a group of pioneering health systems addressing these opportunities head on by adding digital health solutions that extend their physical footprint, laying the groundwork for a durable population health strategy.”

This first major provider partnership for Proteus follows on a major pharma deal with Otsuka last year. They announced in September that they were poised to launch the first mass market drug to incorporate Proteus's ingestible sensor, a sensor-embedded version of the antidepressant Abilify.

Proteus's first commercial deployment was in the UK with pharmacy chain Lloydspharmacy way back in January 2012.

Proteus’s ingestible sensor component secured FDA clearance in July 2012, at first as a de novo medical device, while the company’s sensor-laden patch got FDA clearance in 2010. The company is also one of the best-funded in digital health, with around $400 million in its coffers. Its latest $172 million round closed in July 2014.