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: Keep reading>>