The Future of Digital Pills

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Valerie Sullivan, President and CEO of etectRx, joined me for a thought-provoking discussion around the use of digital pills in healthcare and clinical research. Among many other things, we explored how Pharma companies can benefit from the ability to confirm medication ingestions, how partnerships within the digital health ecosystem are helping to advance the field, and the future of digital pills.

Here is a sneak peek of our conversation:

Q: What are some of the parameters and ideas that you give to physicians, prescribers, or even sponsors and manufacturers that you work with, on how to best–and with whom–to use these smart pills?

A: Good question Natalie, thank you! I want to make it clear right now that we are still looking for our very first pharmaceutical partner, because we believe that Pharma has the most to advance and is the most innovative when it comes to new technologies. We got our FDA clearance in 2019 and we are out talking to pharmaceutical companies about using our technology in clinical trials. We know that, in clinical trials, despite journaling and pill counts and pill bottles that send a signal, there’s no one way to confirm that a patient has taken their medication, except for our digital pill system.

We believe that we can advance clinical trials because you’ll get a timestamp when a patient has taken their med and you’ll be able to know what that dosing is. The opportunity to advance your data sets and to really understand how your drug works; the possibilities seem to advance trials. We are ready for use now and we have clinical trials underway across many academic centers in the US. We are ready to work with Pharma companies.

Now, the question you asked; in our studies, we’ve had patients as young as 18. It’s FDA cleared for those over the age of 18 and up to 83. It’s a wide swath of diversity in age, as well as race. Use cases include patients who are taking oral chemo meds. The Hepatitis C market could be a good one. We’ve done a lot of work in HIV and HIV treatment, as well as prevention. There’s something to be said about using these in pain meds and opioid protection and detection. We could be kids in a candy store with all different use cases.

What we really need most is a Pharma partner who is willing to be a thought partner with us to think through how do we go to market, because without having their pills to put in our capsule, we’re limited in the type of work we can do broadly to advance the data that come with knowing a patient absolutely took their medication…

For more of our discussion, you can watch the whole Fireside Chat with Valerie Sullivan, or listen to the podcast version, below.

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