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Novartis forms digital health investment company with Qualcomm

Expands work with Tricorder prize firm to develop 'beyond-the-pill' initiatives

 Novartis Science Discovery Unbound Flipboard magazine

Novartis has formed a $100m digital health investment company to back 'beyond-the-pill' technologies, products or services.

The move is a joint initiative with Qualcomm Ventures, whose philanthropic arm sponsors the Tricorder X Price, and the funds will concentrate on early-stage companies whose work benefits physicians and patients.

David Epstein, division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said: "By working with Qualcomm Ventures, Novartis sees the opportunity to take a greater leadership role in introducing new mobile or digital technologies that have the potential to change the practice of medicine and bring more breakthroughs with real benefits to patients and society.

"We are excited by the potential of digital medicines to further enhance our mission of the right drug for the right patient at the right time helping people live longer with a better quality of life giving more time to do the things that matter to them."

The partnership combines Qualcomm's background in wireless technology and digital health investment with Novartis' burgeoning efforts to tap into new technologies.

On the technology side the company's headline deals last year includes one with Google for its 'smart lens' technology and a tie-up with quantified self firm TicTrac.

Novartis has also noticeably ramped up its social media efforts in the last 12 months, with a creative use of Pinterest and its Discovery Unbound magazine on Flipboard  (pictured above) particularly standing out.

Looking slightly further back and mHelath - also, of course, a strong focus for Qualcomm - was the subject of Novartis' 2013 mHealth Challenge in Silicon Valley. The 48-hour development marathon sought novel way to use mobile technology to help caregivers navigate the daily challenges of looking after a loved one with heart failure.

Digital clinical trials

Novartis and Qualcomm's digital health investment efforts expand their existing partnership. Signed just last week this involved Qualcomm subsidiary Qualcomm Life collaborating on Novartis' 'Trials of The Future' programme.

This is designed to use healthcare technology to improve the experience of clinical trial participants, as well as patients using Novartis products, by providing 'connectivity' with future products marketed by the Swiss firm.

Under the deal Novartis will combine Qualcomm's 2net Platform, 2net Hub and 2net Mobile technologies with a number of medical devices to automate the collection of data at patients' homes during clinical trials.

The firm says that its 2net Platform will serve as a 'global connectivity platform' and is designed to improve the speed of capturing study participant data and test results. This will ultimately gain more trial efficiencies and connected experiences for participants, according to Qualcomm.

Rick Valencia, senior VP and general manager at Qualcomm Life, said: “Novartis is a pioneer in putting technology to use in advancing pharmaceutical innovation.

“Standardising on the tech-agnostic 2net Platform and accessing the robust ecosystem of integrated medical devices will provide them a great range of flexibility and scalability, ultimately accelerating their efforts to design more efficient, cost-effective clinical trials.”

Novartis is currently using the 2net Platform in a recently-launched clinical study, evaluating the use of mobile devices with chronic lung disease patients.

The study, which is an observational trial and does not involve a Novartis pharmaceutical product, uses 2net Mobile-enabled smartphones and 2net Hubs to collect and aggregate biometric data from medical devices.It then transmits this data to the cloud-based 2net Platform, which in turn sends the data to the study's co-ordinator.

12th January 2015

From: Marketing

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