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Bayer waded deeper into digital health with its G4A Digital Health Partnerships accelerator program, in which it’ll collaborate with five new startups from around the world on digital health solutions, including digital therapeutics (DTx) for chronic conditions, personalized medicine, and AI-driven disease management.
For context, Bayer first launched its G4A program in 2013, and has since supported over 150 digital health companies with funding and coaching, while directly collaborating with 30 of them.
This isn’t Bayer’s first plunge into digital health—it’s made big bets on digital health over the past year:
The pharma giant injected $239 million into Recursion Pharma to support its endeavors in developing treatments for fibrotic, lung, kidney, and heart diseases. Bayer has been focusing on developing treatments for renal and cardiovascular disease—and for good reason: 1 in 3 US adults are at-risk for chronic kidney disease, and cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the US.
And Bayer nabbed a $100 million equity stake in DTx startup OneDrop to bolster its development of digital products for chronic conditions. The deal came shortly after One Drop launched a subscription service, dubbed Digital Membership, that provides data-driven health tools for managing one or multiple chronic conditions. The acquisition aligned with one of Bayer’s target health initiatives of improving chronic conditions—which account for 90% of the $3.5 trillion the US spends on healthcare annually.
Pharma cos have historically lagged on digitization, but they’re starting to pick up the pace—and it’s likely they’ll eye digital behavioral health tools as the mental health crisis explodes alongside the pandemic. This year, we saw AstraZeneca partner with AI diagnostics firm RenalytixAI, Otsuka purchase Proteus Digital Health, Novartis acquire DTx company Amblyotech, and Janssen launch a digital health accelerator—signaling pharma cos are starting to move on digital transformation.
And as the pandemic exacerbates the mental health crisis, more pharma companies may want to take advantage of a growing demand for virtual mental healthcare: Telepsychiatry adoption jumped from 80% pre-pandemic to 96% at the beginning of the pandemic, and 62% of consumers said they would prefer a virtual visit for their mental health, even when given the option of an in-person visit post-pandemic.
This demand is further highlighted as coronavirus cases climb once again: In July, 53% of adults reported declining mental health conditions amid the pandemic, and 65% of behavioral health organizations had to turn patients away. Altogether, this creates a budding opportunity for pharma companies to leverage their investment power and cash in on the growing pain point of mental health.
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Source:: Business Insider