Merck KGaA taps PRA Health's remote monitoring platform for its growth hormone treatment

Germany’s Merck KGaA has signed up with PRA Health Sciences to wed its human growth hormone (HGH) treatment system with the CRO’s remote patient monitoring platform.

Under this new pact, financials of which were not disclosed, PRA’s platform will back Merck’s HGH treatment system, including growlink, an app for patients prescribed with the pharma’s HGH treatment, known as Saizen (somatropin), and easypod Connect, a platform for healthcare professionals working in endocrinology to monitor patients’ adherence, review injection history and share information about patients’ progression.

“Patients and payers expect us to offer new technologies, such as treatment-supporting apps, with the highest levels of privacy and data security,” said Andre Musto, senior vice president and head of cardiovascular metabolism and endocrinology at Merck KGaA.

“With growlink and easypod Connect, supported by PRA’s remote patient monitoring platform, we can offer patients innovative tools to help manage their condition and assure payers of the effective use of treatments while fully respecting their privacy and data security.”

HGH treatments like Saizen are typically given to children and adolescents with growth hormone deficiency. But, despite the prevalence of growth hormone deficiency and treatment options, one of the biggest challenges is ensuring patients stick to the program.

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“Adding this layer of technology to HGH treatments better facilitates patient engagement, helps HCPs make better use of patient visits, and ensures the treatment is taken regularly and at the right dosage, optimizing treatment outcome and driving payer confidence,” the pair said in a statement.

In a real-world setting, Merck said a healthcare professional would use easypod Connect to invite patients to download growlink; then, the patient downloads the app, signs an eConsent form and syncs the app with Merck’s HGH injector medical device, easypod.

This device is able to self-regulate the appropriate dosage of HGH. The four-part system will now be underpinned by PRA’s remote patient monitoring technology, which will allow doctors to see a potentially better picture of patients’ adherence, height, weight and other outcomes, all while offering patients a more convenient way to adhere to their treatment regimen and manage their condition.

“For many years, PRA has been focused on designing an end-to-end digital health platform that supports mobile healthcare delivery, such as remote patient monitoring,” said Kent Thoelke, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at PRA. “Our collaboration with Merck to support growlink and easypod Connect is an example of how the industry is advancing with the patient at the center of our innovation.”