Chugai doubles up on digital pain alliance with Biofourmis


Chugai has renewed and extended a partnership with Biofourmis, focusing on the use of a digital toolkit to assess and manage pain in people with endometriosis, designed to be used alongside an investigational medicine.

Japanese pharma group Chugai – a Roche subsidiary – is developing an anti-IL-8 antibody for endometriosis called AMY109, which is designed to strike at the underlying cause of the painful and debilitating condition.

The hope is that a pharmacological approach could be twinned with a digital tool that would not only provide a better way of assessing pain levels in patients, but also improve the safety and efficacy of treatment.

The partners envisage that the two approaches could be prescribed at the same time, with the digital data shared with healthcare professionals to help them support patients, and adjust drug therapy as needed to keep pain under control.

Biofourmis has been working with Chugai for two years on digital solutions based on remote patient monitoring via a biosensor and artificial intelligence analytics that can replace subjective measures of pain, such as 'smiley faces' and 1-10 pain scales.

The extension of that alliance will see continued development of the digital toolkit as a platform for 'real-world' data driven pain measurement and patient care support.

The companies said that the platform will be rolled out for real-world use with support from Biofourmis’ virtual specialty care services in the US, backed by Chugai data, which will also be used to support AMY109’s clinical development and post-approval marketing.

“Expanding this collaboration from research and development to real-world use demonstrates the scalability and flexibility of Biofourmis’ end-to-end platform and solutions for both drug development and healthcare delivery,” said Biofourmis founder and chief executive Kuldeep Rajput in a statement.

Endometriosis affects approximately 10% of all women of reproductive age and 70% of women with chronic pelvic pain, resulting in a reduced quality of life.

The agreement comes as Boston-based Biofourmis – one of the digital health sector's latest unicorn companies after raising $320 million in fourth-round financing last year – has seen its patient monitoring tools and digital therapeutics adopted by an increasing number of health systems, including recent deals with Augusta University Health, Beacon Health, and Orlando Health.

The core of its platform – called Biovitals – was approved by the FDA in 2019 and has been extended into a series of disease-specific predictive management tools, including a heart failure digital therapeutic (DTx) that was awarded breakthrough status by the FDA in 2021.