To bring digital pressure to its clinical trials, AstraZeneca has strengthened its relationship with software developer Huma as part of plans to develop and launch companion apps for patients across a range of research areas.
The market has money that seems to be swinging both ways: the drugmaker invested $33 million in the software company, while AstraZeneca separately announced the sale of its Amaze Forms platform to Huma for some time. Amount not disclosed.
Amaze includes programs that help patients manage chronic conditions and stay connected with their doctors. With the launch of the platform last year, AstraZeneca began integrating Amaze into clinical trials for heart failure and asthma at Massachusetts General Hospital, ahead of expansion plans in diseases such as diabetes, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and kidney failure.
With Huma at the helm of the platform, AstraZeneca hopes to conduct more decentralized clinical trials and remotely connect patients to experimental therapies using Amaze and its upcoming disease-specific companion apps.
The collaboration is “AstraZeneca’s first in the digital health space,” which seeks to link chronic diseases to software used as a medical device, Big Pharma’s chief digital business officer, Karan Arora, said in a statement.
According to the two companies, 95% of chronic disease treatment occurs outside of the clinic, even before the COVID-19 pandemic caused people to avoid unnecessary clinic visits.
“We believe that digitalization can expand access to healthcare, advance clinical research and identify gaps in care,” said Ruud Dobber, President of AstraZeneca’s Biopharmaceutical Business Unit.
Huma has already partnered with AstraZeneca and pharmaceutical manufacturers such as Bayer and Janssen to offer digital “home hospitals” in clinical trials that integrate predictive algorithms, digital biomarkers, and data from around the world.
Amaze operated with a similar mandate. For example, in AstraZeneca’s studies of heart failure and asthma associated with MGH, the program relied on a combination of telecommunications links, smartphone apps, remote monitoring, and system early warning systems to alert and assist healthcare professionals with the needs of the at-risk patient. intervene with prescriptions and other treatments if necessary.
The deal will also help London-based Huma expand its presence in the United States by leveraging AstraZeneca’s previous partnerships in the country, Huma co-founder and CEO Dan Vahdat said.