Novartis teams up with Pear Therapeutics to develop digital therapeutics for schizophrenia, MS

Pear Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Yuri Maricich emphasized that the products Pear is developing with Novartis are intended to do more than support adherence. 

In the latest example of the convergence between big pharma and digital health, Swiss drug developer Novartis has teamed up with Pear Therapeutics, a company that developed an FDA-approved program that digitizes the therapy for substance abuse recovery. Novartis and Pear Therapeutics will work together to advance digital therapeutics supplementing Novartis drugs for schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

The goal is for patients to use these to enhance the effectiveness of the therapeutics, according to an announcement from the drug developer.

Novartis will work with Pear to push clinical development of Pear’s THRIVE digital therapeutic for patients with schizophrenia. THRIVE is designed to provide cognitive behavioral therapy to patients through mobile and desktop applications. Once approved, they may be prescribed alongside drug therapies and have the potential to be developed to treat other diseases, the announcement noted.

THRIVE has demonstrated potential usability, retention and preliminary efficacy in patients with schizophrenia in early clinical studies, according to the announcement. The companies will also collaborate to design and develop a new therapeutic application to address underserved mental health burden in patients with multiple sclerosis.

“In many ways, this partnership is emblematic of one of the ways Pear can interact with pharma companies and help deliver really novel enhancement of outcomes to patients,” said Pear Therapeutics Chief Medical Officer Yuri Maricich in a phone interview. “Partnerships like this allow us to take advantage of opportunities to work with experts with deep knowledge and organizations with strong expertise in developing these compounds in a collaborative process.”

Maricich noted that its product for MS is at an earlier stage than THRIVE.

sponsored content

A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

He emphasized that the products Pear is developing with Novartis are intended to do more than support adherence.

THRIVE brings neural interventions for people with schizophrenia.

One of the challenges with treating people with diseases of the brain is that there are few good therapeutic options,” Maricich said. “What this partnership identifies is a prescription therapeutic that will bring a whole new modality for treatment to a patient population that has not had adequate treatment options. This offers another way to enhance them.”

Photo: 9amstock, Getty Images