Pierre Fabre has struck a deal to develop connected underwear that diagnoses and monitors urinary disorders. The co-development agreement (PDF) with BioSerenity builds on 18 months of research into connected fabrics and how the device will fit into treatment pathways.
BioSerenity has handled the technology side of the collaboration. Leveraging its experience working on sensor-laden textiles for people with epilepsy, the French startup has developed prototype fabrics designed to detect and quantify urinary problems. The device is worn around the abdomen, takes readings and sends data to a cloud platform for review by the patient’s urologist.
In parallel, Pierre Fabre has looked into how—and why—patients and prescribers would want to use the device, bringing the collaborators to the point at which they're ready to escalate their plans.
The result is an agreement to co-finance development of the connected device. Beyond that, Pierre Fabre will have the exclusive right to sell the device around the world. Neither company has disclosed the financial terms of the deal.
BioSerenity and Pierre Fabre have work to do before anyone starts making money from the project. The partners are still developing the technology and have yet to nail down a business model for the devices. But the concept has already resonated with some of the doctors who may go on to offer the device to patients.
“It could provide a more precise diagnosis from readings collected in real life conditions and improve patient comfort during examination, with fewer potential side effects. In terms of the treatment pathway, it’s also simpler and more cost-effective,” Xavier Gamé, M.D., Ph.D., professor of urology at Toulouse University Hospital, said in a statement.
The project is Pierre Fabre’s first major push into digital technologies. The firm is well established in the pharma sector but has identified a need to expand beyond drugs to improve patient outcomes and care pathways.