Shire has signed up to support the development of an app for patients with hemophilia A and B. The agreement will see Shire contribute to the development of features tailored to the needs of patients who have inhibitors against clotting factor concentrates.
MicroHealth developed the app for Android and iOS devices to improve outcomes in patients with hemophilia by enabling them to set reminders and record, store and share their health data. The digital health startup drew on the experience of its co-founder, hemophilia A patient Aaron Craig, in designing the app but has decided it will benefit from third-party input to cater to patients with inhibitors.
That is where Shire comes in. The big biotech will use its knowledge of the needs of hemophilia patients who have inhibitors to help MicroHealth improve the app. Shire’s link to hemophilia A and B patients with inhibitors is Feiba, a bypassing agent approved for use in these populations. Craig thinks Shire’s knowledge will help to improve the app.
“I wanted to develop a tool that would help streamline hemophilia care to produce stronger adherence,” he said in a release. “We're excited to partner with Shire on extensions to the app to better support patients with inhibitors and their care teams.”
The deal forms a loose connection between the two companies. MicroHealth stays independent and is not sharing any of the data it gathers from patients, caregivers or other third parties with Shire.
For Shire, the deal gives it a way to strengthen its ties to, and improve its standing among, a group of patients that look set to be the focus of a fiercely fought tussle between drugmakers. Today, Shire’s Feiba and Novo Nordisk’s NovoSeven carve up the market between the two companies. But that is poised to change next year if Roche can get its bispecific antibody emicizumab past the FDA.
About two-thirds of patients in a pivotal trial of emicizumab had an annualized bleed rate of zero, a figure that, if Roche can overcome safety questions, could put pressure on Shire’s franchise.