Novartis taps growing Biofourmis for digital heart failure project

Biovotion's Everion device, worn on the upper arm, measures 22 different parameters in real time, including heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, skin temperature and activity. (Image: Infinity Design)

Biofourmis has been tapped by Novartis to help develop digital therapeutic programs that follow patients home after they’ve been recently diagnosed with heart failure.

The goal of the project is to capture personal sensor data and sift it for the early signs of potential exacerbations, to help guide prompt interventions into the progressive disease. Starting first in Southeast Asia, the two companies said the collaboration has the potential to expand globally. 

At the same time, the Boston-based Biofourmis announced its plans to acquire Biovotion, makers of clinical-grade wearable biosensors. Assets such as the latter’s Everion tracker will be folded into Biofourmis’ AI-powered Biovitals health data ecosystem.

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The Everion device, worn on the upper arm, can measure 22 different parameters in real time, including heart rate, respiratory rate, blood oxygenation, skin temperature and activity. Headquartered in Zurich, Biovotion said it is currently developing a next-generation Everion device to capture additional data such as blood pressure trends. 

Biofourmis sees the wearable as an integral future component of its digital therapeutics programs, with applications in chronic heart failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, cancer and pain management. 

"Biovotion had been a trusted partner for many years as we have leveraged each other's technologies across numerous clinical, commercial and research applications," Biofourmis founder and CEO Kuldeep Singh Rajput said in a statement. The Biovotion team will be incorporated into the company as Biofourmis AG, based in Zurich.

RELATED: Yale, Mayo Clinic tap Biofourmis' sensors and the new Apple Watch to study digital endpoints for heart disease

"We are thrilled to add Everion to the Biovitals ecosystem, which will continue to help our clients achieve their goals such as demonstrating the value of pharmacotherapy, managing chronic diseases, predicting and preventing adverse events, and improving clinical outcomes—and ultimately reducing healthcare costs," he said. Financial details were not disclosed.

Meanwhile, the first phase of Biofourmis’ collaboration with Novartis is set to begin this month. Recently discharged heart failure patients with reduced ejection fraction will enter a three-month program, with an Everion device to take home. 

The company’s companion app, BiovitalsHF, will allow patients and clinicians to remotely monitor their physiology and report symptoms, as well as manage medications and seek guidance. The program’s analytics engine is designed to flag heart failure exacerbations in advance and provide therapeutic recommendations.

RELATED: FDA contributes to hunt for new heart failure endpoints

According to Biofourmis, about 85% of patients who have been hospitalized suffer from an acute heart failure event at least once, while 43% will be admitted at least four times—however, less than a quarter of these patients are on guideline-directed therapies, with about 1% receiving target doses of medications.

Elsewhere, Biofourmis is working on heart failure research through a collaboration with the FDA, Yale University and the Mayo Clinic, which also employs Biovotion's Everion device.

Its digital programs are being used in a study to monitor functional capacity and quality of life, to evaluate those measures as patient-focused endpoints for cardiovascular drug development and approvals, alongside more traditional measures such as mortality and hospitalization rates.

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