Novartis extends Kaiku digital patient monitoring partnership


Kaiku Health's year-old alliance with Novartis to develop a digital patient monitoring and management (DPPM) system for patients with melanoma is being extended, according to the two partners.

The original agreement last year focused on melanoma patients who are receiving BRAF/MEK combination therapies – specifically Novartis' Tafinlar (dabrafenib) and Mekinist (trametinib) drugs – and has resulted in the development of a digital module tailored to their needs.

The initial partnership led to a pilot of the personalised support module for people being treated with the drugs at cancer clinics in Germany, the Netherlands, Switzerland and Italy, alongside an established module from Kaiku.

That pilot phase was used to see how it performed on patient outcomes in a real-world setting, as well as to refine and add to the machine-learning-based algorithms used in the module for functions like symptom prediction.

That has already offered the opportunity to improve the management of symptoms in patients taking Tafinlar/Mekinist as well as other combination therapies, said Helsinki, Finland-based Kaiku, with the next phase focused on "taking machine learning algorithms further" and extending the number of clinics using the module.

"The cooperation has shown that together we can enhance the monitoring and symptom management of melanoma…patients," said the digital health company's co-founder and deputy general manager, Henri Virtanen.

The alliance will also build on the existing machine-learning model in melanoma and apply it to new models for other indications and treatments, he added.

Kaiku's DPPM platform has also attracted the attention of other big pharma groups, including Roche which has been working with the company since 2019 on personalised support modules for patients taking its PD-L1 inhibitor Tecentriq (atezolizumab).

It is also working with MSD Germany on a project to develop artificial intelligence-enabled DPPM for lung cancer patients, and with Amgen on modules for multiple myeloma.

In May, a Phase 2 study started, comparing Kaiku's electronic patient-reported outcome (ePRO) approach to evaluating immune-related adverse events to the standard model of care in cancer patients treated with checkpoint inhibitor drugs, with results due towards the end of 2023 or in early 2024.

Previous studies have linked the use of ePROs with less decline in health-related quality of life, as well as increased overall survival and a decreased number of hospital admissions of advanced cancer patients treated with chemotherapy.