Is the future of therapy online? Swiss drug giant Novartis thinks so - (MarketWatch via NewsPoints Desk)

  • Novartis and Pear Therapeutics, which the formed a partnership in March, hope that pairing digital therapy and prescription drugs will make the two more effective, MarketWatch reported Tuesday.

  • Joris Van Dam, Novartis executive director of digital therapeutics, said that "we're not going to say drop the anti-psychotic and use the app instead, to paraphrase. We’re going to add the app and see what that means. And we suspect there is a synergistic effect."

  • The companies will also reportedly work to design and develop a separate digital therapeutic for patients with multiple sclerosis. 

  • According to Van Dam, digital therapeutics are not "cumbersome to deliver; anytime you have 15 minutes to spare you can access your therapy. Stigma goes away, quality's always the same," and "you can personalize [to a] much greater extent, because you know exactly what parts of the therapy the patient is accessing and avoiding, what parts of the therapy they're responding to, how much time they're spending."

  • Digital therapeutics could eventually replace traditional therapies entirely, Van Dam said, which is especially the case for areas like early-stage depression where many anti-depressants have side effects, he added.

  • However, he said that Novartis' focus is on progressed stages of disease, where digital interventions could make pharmacological ones more effective.

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