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Pfizer, Sidekick Health Launch Digital Therapeutic Aimed at Atopic Dermatitis Market


The launch is one of several digital therapeutics partnerships Pfizer has announced in recent months.

Pfizer and Sidekick Health have teamed up to launch a new digital therapeutics solution for patients with atopic dermatitis (AD).

The new platform is designed to boost treatment adherence among patients with AD. The partnership between the Icelandic startup and the international pharmaceutical giant is the latest in a string of digital therapeutics investments by Pfizer.

“At Pfizer, we recognize patient care goes beyond medical advances and we are proud to be working with Sidekick to put their technology in the hands of the people who need it most,” said Ana Paula Carvalho, Pfizer’s regional president of international developed markets for inflammation and immunology, in a press release.

Sidekick’s platform uses gamification, behavioral economics, and artificial intelligence to track and reward patients who adhere to their treatment plans. Under the terms of the agreement, the smartphone application will first be made available to patients in the United Kingdom, followed later this year by Belgium, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, France, Ireland, and Japan.

By 2024, patients in a total of 24 markets will have access to the product, Sidekick Health said. The launch is part of a partnership first announced two years ago.

The AD market is large and growing. According to a 2020 study, as many as 14% of adults worldwide have the skin condition. In its moderate and severe forms, the disease can lead to stress, anxiety, and sleep loss, the companies noted.

Treatments range from over-the-counter topical ointments to new systemic therapies, such as Pfizer’s oral once-daily Janus kinase 1 inhibitor, Cibinqo (abrocitinib), which received Food and Drug Administration approval in January to treat adults with recurrent moderate-to-severe AD.

Sidekick said its digital patient support program can make a meaningful impact on people with AD, by reducing stress, improving sleep quality, and improving overall quality of life. They said a recent feasibility study of their platform found that it increased patient medication adherence in 83% of patients who used the app to manage their chronic illness.

“At Sidekick, it’s always been our ambition to help as many people as possible to make long-lasting improvements to lifestyle behaviors and improve their quality of life,” said Tryggvi Thorgeirsson, MD, Sidekick’s co-founder and chief executive. “Our work with Pfizer better enables us to reach our goal of bringing digital therapeutics into the homes of people around the world.”

The launch of the Sidekick platform follows other partnerships between Pfizer and digital therapeutics makers.

In January, Pfizer announced a strategic partnership with the Swedish software-maker Alex Therapeutics to create digital therapeutics targeting smoking cessation.

Then in April, Pfizer announced an agreement to acquire the Australian firm ResApp Health, which makes digital therapeutics focused on respiratory health indications. Among ResApp’s products is SleepCheck, an app designed to assess sleep apnea risk.

Last year, Pfizer made a deal with the Malaysian firm Doctor on Call to launch a digital therapeutics platform aimed at three therapeutic areas: smoking cessation, vaccination, and cardiovascular health.

Carvalho said Pfizer’s digital therapeutics investments represent the company’s broader approach to patient health.

“A holistic approach to treating the individual, not just the disease, is essential in order to advance the standard of care for patients and to empower them to live their best lives,” she said, in the press release.

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