Pear Therapeutics teams up with Ironwood for GI-focused digital therapeutics

Prescription digital therapeutic developer Pear Therapeutics is expanding its app-based platform to conditions outside of the brain and mental health through a gastrointestinal disease-focused collaboration with Ironwood Pharmaceuticals. 

The new project comes two weeks after Sandoz pulled out of its commercialization agreement with the 2018 FierceMedTech Fierce 15 winner, as Novartis’ generics division moves to reallocate resources to its core businesses. 

Ironwood’s gastrointestinal franchise, meanwhile, includes the FDA-approved Linzess in partnership with Allergan. The drug is currently indicated for irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and chronic constipation, and it’s also being studied in other IBS-related abdominal symptoms and pediatric constipation.

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The company is also pursuing a separate, mid-phase treatment for abdominal pain associated with IBS and diarrhea through its Allergan partnership, MD-7246—as well as IW-3718, an internal candidate for persistent gastroesophageal reflux disease.  

Pear Therapeutics’ president and CEO, Corey McCann, said there’s a “compelling clinical rationale” for the addition of digital apps to the treatment of these kind of diseases, as well as in clinical drug development. “This represents an important step for Pear and broadens our pipeline to diseases outside the central nervous system and into a range of chronic conditions,” McCann said in a statement

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Pear currently maintains FDA-approved digital therapeutics for substance abuse and opioid use disorders and submitted a third product for insomnia and depression to the agency for review this past July. Pear’s pipeline also lists several programs in the discovery or proof-of-concept phases, including in post-traumatic stress disorder, epilepsy, cognition, schizophrenia and pain as well as early work in inflammation, oncology and cardiovascular disease.

“This agreement represents an attractive opportunity to develop first-in-class products that could help patients with GI diseases reach better outcomes,” said Ironwood President Tom McCourt, describing the work with Pear as an “innovative new treatment modality.”