16 June 2020
Digital therapeutics - a new frontier in patient care
Working within the space of substance use disorder and mental health, we have long realised that access to both medical treatment and psychological support is critical for patients. The COVID-19 pandemic has added further urgency to this need. Though recent years have seen some improvements in terms of access to care in the US, largely as a response to the ongoing opioid crisis, there is still a high unmet need due to the lack of specialist services such as qualified counselling in the first few crucial months of treatment, which is exactly where digital therapeutics fit in.
Digital therapeutics are evidence-based therapeutic interventions driven by high quality software programs to prevent, manage, or treat patients with a broad spectrum of physical, mental, and behavioural conditions. These new and innovative treatment options offer obvious benefits in terms of convenience and ease of access for patients, but most importantly have the potential to be a game-changing development, especially within mental health, to extend access to treatment to a much wider patient population. Digital therapies give developers operating in the space, such as Orexo, the ability to push beyond existing treatment regimens to deliver innovative solutions to provide much needed psychological care with highly sophisticated and individualised support 24/7.
As the impact of COVID-19 continues to affect us all globally, the digital therapeutics space is advancing rapidly as the need for digital solutions becomes more acute. It has also presented the opportunity to accelerate the adoption of new technologies, including video conferencing and digital health, leading to improved patient outcomes. In April the FDA took the encouraging step of proactively introducing an emergency policy for digital therapeutics. The policy aims to expand the availability of digital health therapeutic devices for psychiatric disorders, to facilitate consumer use while reducing contact and potential exposure to COVID-19.
The potential breadth of the digital therapeutics space is enormous. Over the last ten months, Orexo has acquired exclusive US rights to products offering treatments in what we see as three key areas that have great potential to digital therapies: opioid use disorder (OXD01), alcohol misuse (vorvida®) and most recently depression (deprexis®). All three therapies are backed by our partner, GAIA AG, using their proprietary artificial intelligence expert system, broca®. The technology will enable the provision of tailored therapeutic support by stimulating effective, up-to-date, and personalised cognitive behavioural therapy interventions.
Digital therapeutics are already set to become one of the most exciting and rapidly growing areas of the life sciences industry this decade, and we are excited to play a part in shaping the future of this industry.
Orexo develops improved pharmaceuticals and digital therapies mainly within the growing space of substance use disorder and mental health. The Company’s lead product, Zubsolv®, is commercialised by its sales force in the US for the treatment of opioid use disorder.