Devices & Diagnostics, Pharma, Startups, BioPharma

Digital medicine startup Proteus Digital Health pushes into oncology

Proteus’ new oral oncology drug is a digital version of capecitabine, a common chemotherapy medication often used to treat breast and gastrointestinal cancers.

Silicon Valley startup Proteus Digital Health has partnered with Fairveiw Health Services and the University of Minnesota Health system to provide its digital medicine technology to cancer patients to support chemotherapy treatments.

Proteus creates so-called smart pills, ingestible digital sensors that can track medication adherence and activity levels. Based in Redwood City, California, the company has raised nearly $500 million from investors like pharmaceutical heavyweights Novartis and Otsuka.

Some of the company’s previous partnerships include a collaboration with Otsuka on Abilify MyCite, a digital sensor inside a pill which which records medication adherence for the anti-psychotic medication.

Proteus’ new oral oncology drug is a digital version of capecitabine, a common chemotherapy medication often used to treat breast and gastrointestinal cancers. In this case, the company’s technology will be prescribed to Fairveiw Health Services and the University of Minnesota Health patients with stage 3 and 4 colorectal cancer.

Essentially what the digital pill does is helps to optimize treatment regimens by measuring and collecting information about medication usage and dosage, along with activity metrics. With patient consent, this data can be shared to the person’s physician, caretaker or pharmacist to help gauge and adjust treatment.

“Proteus’ digital medicine technology provides a more direct connection to the patient. It creates a way for us to achieve a lot of things that happen when a patient is in the clinic for infusions without them coming in person. Also, we can gain insights about the patient that we can’t learn from an office visit, like how the patient is doing with their treatment regimen while at home, on a daily basis,”  University of Minnesota oncologist and hemotologist Edward Greeno said in a statement.

The company believes using the digital medicine will enable oncology patients to stay on their therapy longer, avoid hospital admissions and respond better to therapy overall.

The digital oral chemotherapy pill was developed in concern with Fairview Ventures, the innovation arm of the health system, as well as oncology medication experts from Fairview Pharmacy Services and the University of Minnesota.

In order to build a stronger clinical evidence base, Proteus is also launching a digital oral oncolytic medication registry which will collect data from multiple sites around the country testing the digital version of capecitabine as a treatment.

“Proteus’ expansion of support for digital medicines into the oncology treatment area is not only important for patients and providers, it will be a game changer for the industry developing therapies intended to one day eradicate cancer,” Olivia Ware, Proteus’ senior vice president of US markets and franchise development, said in a statement.

“Data gathered from digital oral oncolytics will enable cancer drugs and treatment regimens to be optimized to work their best for each individual patient, something not possible until now.”

Photo: Getty Images, photo_chaz