Big Pharma testing waters with mobile tech

Developers of mobile technologies have made some inroads with deep-pocketed drugmakers, which have sought the help of new apps and devices to streamline the development, marketing and sales of meds. Tech and biopharma entrepreneurs are betting that Big Pharma has an appetite for more mobile innovations.

With drug companies struggling to run clinical trials efficiently and reap the most value out of existing brands, mobile tech players have the opportunity to provide apps that quell the problems. As cited by MobiHealthNews, analysts at research firm Cutting Edge Information recently highlighted opportunities for mobile health apps to aid drug companies in collecting clinical trial data and analyzing the info. The software startup Clinical Ink, of course, offers mobile devices for collecting trials data. Big Pharma companies might also be interested in apps that help clinical investigators attract patients for studies.

On the commercial front, big drugmakers have an incentive to invest in mobile technologies that could help boost sales of products. Biopharma mogul Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong acquired Boston-area mobile health company Vitality in a deal announced last February. Vitality makes Internet-connected drug bottle caps that tell patients when to take their meds. Novartis ($NVS) is one of the large drugmakers that have worked with Vitality because there's an opportunity to increase adherence to prescriptions and sales of meds through use of the technology, according to Xconomy's article on the deal.

Augme Technologies and other companies have also found clients in Big Pharma for their mobile marketing offerings, MobiHealthNews reports.

Last month, Providence, RI-based Vertical Performance Partners, which makes companies' data accessible on the iPad, raised $1.5 million in venture money and has already attracted major biopharma customers such as AstraZeneca ($AZN), Bristol-Myers Squibb ($BMY), Biogen Idec ($BIIB) and Vertex Pharmaceuticals ($VRTX), the Boston Business Journal reported.

Vertical Performance Partners' tech has applications in a number of industries, but the company has found an early sweet spot with biopharma customers. Such cases bode well for developers of mobile apps that are looking for viable markets for their products.

- check out the MobiHealthNews piece
- and the Boston Business Journal's article

Special Report: 10 mobile apps in life sciences