Sanofi VC arm backs $17M round for digital medicine startup Click Therapeutics

French Big Pharma Sanofi, through its venture arm, has led a $17 million funding round for Click Therapeutics, a startup looking to boost work on an online platform of “prescription digital therapeutics.”

The company’s leading product is Clickotine, deisgned for smoking cessation, that works as a phone app designed to help people stop smoking using input from Magellan Health, a behavioral healthcare company.

This platform offers services such as live coaching, access to nicotine replacement therapy, personalized messages (via a learning program it says can individually tailor the platform) and more.

Clickotine bills itself as a complete platform, backed by doctors and data scientists, to help those wanting to quit via a “digital journey.” The company believes it can boost cessation numbers and also pass on healthcare savings by having fewer people suffer smoking-related diseases.

With its new funding boost, which is relatively modest, Click will look to push on with similar programs aimed at: depression (CT-152), insomnia (CT-141), acute coronary syndrome (CT-111) and chronic pain (CT-130).

“Click will seek FDA clearance for these programs as class II medical devices with disease-specific treatment claims, to be prescribed by physicians and reimbursed by payers,” the company said in a statement.

The company says these programs will be able to be “prescribed” by doctors and reflect the growing interest from pharma in the advent of new digital frontiers in medicine across medical devices, online platforms, “digital” or “smart” drugs, and other areas such as telemedicine and e-patients.

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Last year, in fact, Sanofi also penned a deal with Science 37, another startup looking to change things up in the clinical trial space as it looks to boost recruitment and reduce trial times with new siteless study tech. Its venture arm was one of the original backers of the company back in 2016.

Novartis, too, is looking to broaden its digital health footprint, signing a deal in March with Pear Therapeutics, which is working on a similar philosophy to Click. The Swiss major is working with Pear on new treatments for patients with schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis, with Pear's prescription digital therapeutics designed to “deliver clinically proven treatments, such as cognitive behavioral therapy, to patients through mobile and desktop applications,” according to the company.  

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“We’ve evaluated many companies in this space, and we believe Click Therapeutics’ mobile patient engagement platform positions the company to be a leader in the field of prescription digital therapeutics,” explained Bernard Davitian, SVP and MD of Sanofi Ventures, who has also joined Click’s board.

“The Click Therapeutics team is proud to partner with Sanofi Ventures to advance our pipeline and expand our product portfolio of prescription medical treatments,” added David Benshoof Klein, co-founder and CEO of Click.

“As we announced last summer, in 2017 we expanded our collaboration with Magellan Health Inc. to pursue regulatory clearance from the FDA for indication-specific prescription digital therapies, leveraging the industry-leading suite of intellectual property and data from Magellan’s existing software as well as their vast coverage and reimbursement leadership.

“The addition of Sanofi as a strategic investor, and the closing of this financing, represent major steps forward for Click and for the field of software as prescription medical treatments. By connecting patients with cognitive and neurobehavioral interventions, our platform will bring clinically validated digital therapeutic solutions into mainstream healthcare.”