FDA clears Philips' light therapy wearable for mild psoriasis

Already available in Europe for years, Philips' BlueControl system uses blue light to trigger natural processes in the skin to control psoriasis symptoms. (Philips)

Philips scored FDA clearance for its wearable light therapy device for the treatment of psoriasis. The rechargeable device delivers blue LED light to the skin in a drug-free approach that controls the symptoms of mild psoriasis.

Characterized by patches of thick, red inflamed skin covered with scales, psoriasis occurs when skin cells quickly rise to the surface, where they build up before they mature. The chronic disease affects more than 6.7 million adults in the U.S., according to the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

Philips launched the first-generation BlueControl system in Germany, the Netherlands and the U.K. in October 2014. The following year, the company earned a CE mark for the device’s follow-up, which was introduced in additional markets, including Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Poland. The FDA has cleared it as a prescription device for home use.

FREE DAILY NEWSLETTER

Like this story? Subscribe to FierceBiotech!

Biopharma is a fast-growing world where big ideas come along every day. Our subscribers rely on FierceBiotech as their must-read source for the latest news, analysis and data in the world of biotech and pharma R&D. Sign up today to get biotech news and updates delivered to your inbox and read on the go.

RELATED: MetrioPharm advances psoriasis drug after phase 2 readout

A patient secures the BlueControl device on the affected body part using adjustable straps. The blue light triggers natural processes in the skin that ease the symptoms of psoriasis, which include redness and scaling. Specifically, it slows down the accelerated production of skin cells that results in plaques.

In addition to light therapy, psoriasis is commonly treated with pharmaceuticals. Topical treatments such as ointments or creams containing corticosteroids work well for some patients, but some patients with severe psoriasis may need medications that are taken orally or by injection. These include immune suppressants and drugs that interfere with specific immune system functions that cause the overproduction of skin cells.

RELATED: J&J's Tremfya gets its go-ahead to fight Novartis, Lilly in psoriasis. Can it stand out?

Patients who take immune-suppressing drugs are at higher risk of infection. Using light therapy alone, or in combination with medication—which allows a lower dose of each—is an attractive way to reduce this risk.

Now, Philips plans to engage with dermatologists and patient support groups in the U.S., with eyes on commercial launch early next year.

Suggested Articles

Janssen is planning its first completely virtual clinical trial, using personal smartphones and wearable devices with no in-person site visits.

Sensyne Health aims to bring its AI tools to America, and it’s enlisting IT giant Cognizant and data infrastructure specialist Agorai to help.

Californian RNA biotech Arrowhead will lose its COO and R&D head from next year but is hiring a new CMO and CSO to help steady its research exec team.