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Merck to pilot digital behavioural change programme

Will work with US digital therapeutics firm Blue Mesa Health in diabetes

Merck KGaA

Merck is set to pilot a digital behavioural change programme that combines remote health coaching, peer support and connected technology in a number of countries outside the US.

The German pharmaceutical company will work with Blue Mesa Health to provide the US digital therapeutics firm’s chronic disease prevention programme to diabetes patients.

Merck last year received UK approval for its mature oral diabetes drug Glucophage (metformin) to treat non-diabetic hyperglycaemia or pre-diabetes and is looking to add ‘beyond the pill’ services to its product portfolio.

Daniel Ruggiero, head of diabetes strategy at Merck, said: “We believe expanding our current pharmacological portfolio into an integrated disease management offering will have a tremendous impact on treatment outcomes.

"Chronic diseases are changing the nature of healthcare and the needs of patients. Blue Mesa is in a unique position to deliver culturally tailored diabetes prevention programs to patients around the world."

Founded in 2015 Blue Mesa Health’s key offering is its year-long Transform programme, which integrates a smartphone app with connected bathroom scales and activity trackers to help patients manage their diabetes.

Curtis Duggan, CEO at Blue Mesa Health, said: “We have seen such great success helping people across America prevent or significantly delay the onset of type 2 diabetes.

“Chronic disease is a global problem and, frankly, an issue of national competitiveness as health care systems worldwide continue to grapple with the impact of chronic disease on society and on the economy."

However, Blue Mesa Health and Merck declined to provide any details on which non-US markets they would be targeting with the behavioural change programme.

Merck’s tie-up follows a year of increased activity in the diabetes digital health sector, with two pharma firms proving to be particularly busy.

Lilly struck two deals in quick succession, first in December with software and analytics company Rimidi and then earlier this month with Livongo. Meanwhile, Roche acquired smartphone-based diabetes management platform mySugr in July and later in the year launched a new digital health programme in the UK.

23rd January 2018

From: Healthcare

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