Bayer taps Samsung wearables for menopause sleep study


Sleep disturbances are one of the most common and disruptive symptoms in menopausal women, but not enough is known about the causes, and current sleep aids are often ineffective.

To plug that gap, Germany’s Bayer has joined forces with electronics group Samsung to carry out an observational study on sleep disturbances during menopause (SDM), tapping into the South Korean company’s position as one of the world's largest producers of consumer electronics.

The aim is to understand more about the burden and impact of SDM using data provided by women through the use of Samsung devices. Financial details of the collaboration were not disclosed.

“By joining forces with Samsung and women using their devices, we strive to expand treatment options to support women at all stages of life,” said Juergen Eckhardt, head of business development and licensing at Bayer’s pharma division.

“With one of the world’s largest pools of biomarker data collected with wearable devices, Samsung is a perfect partner to further enhance the knowledge base in women’s health with real-world evidence,” he added.

Samsung has been the second-largest wearables company for some time, behind Apple, with other players like Google growing fast and nipping at their heels. However, Samsung recently overtook Apple to become the number one smartphone manufacturer based on unit shipments.

That strength in the overall market will likely have guided Bayer’s decision to go with Samsung for what it calls a “strategic collaboration” that will make use of the Korean group’s “end-to-end health and wellness platform, which includes its innovative health app and wearables [and] enables the collection of various biometric data, including temperature, sleep architecture and menstrual cycle.”

Bayer is a big player in women’s health, so the area of SDM falls squarely in its focus. However, it signalled last year that it was reining in its activities in this area to concentrate on other areas like neurology, immunology and rare diseases.

Nevertheless, the drugmaker is on the brink of filing for approval of neurokinin-1,3 receptor antagonist elinzanetant – acquired along with KaNDy Therapeutics in 2020 – as a treatment for vasomotor symptoms (VMS) like hot flashes associated with menopause and has said it is one of its brightest pipeline prospects.

It has also started the phase 2 NIRVANA study that will look specifically at the potential of elinzanetant to treat SDM, which is estimated to affect around 40% to 60% of menopausal women.

According to the pharma group, SDM may also be associated with negative effects on metabolism, body fat gain, poor cardiovascular health in later life, cognitive health decline, and depressive symptoms.

“Samsung is building powerful consumer technology to gain meaningful insights into sleeping better,” said the company’s head of partnerships and business development, Sumanth Munipalli.

“As a foundation of health, good sleep is critical to our overall health and wellbeing across one’s health span.”

Image by JayMantri from Pixabay