Boehringer backs study of mobile diabetes care

Boehringer Ingelheim has struck a deal which positions the German drugmaker to participate in digital diabetes care. The pact between Boehringer and digital health outfit Healthrageous, announced last week, involves a study of Type 2 diabetics, who are expected to receive a combination of digital coaching, wireless glucose monitoring and other tools to manage their disease. 

Boehringer, which developed the diabetes drugs Tradjenta and Trajenta, is looking "beyond the pill" at a range of technologies to support its business, the company's Bert Tjeenk-Willink told PMLive. Mobile tech and social media play larger roles than ever in healthcare, and the collaboration with Healthrageous in the Boston area will provide Boehringer with some insights into how diabetics deal with their condition.

Diabetes affects more than 20 million Americans, most of which have Type 2 disease, making it a major focus of drug sales and research. Even with existing treatments such as insulin, many diabetics struggle to control their blood sugar levels and face numerous complications such as heart problems, kidney failure and other organ damage. According to Healthrageous, a spinoff of Harvard-affiliated hospitals, the Boehringer-supported study aims to measure how its digital interventions help patients take their meds as prescribed and make lifestyle adjustments to keep their disease in check.

The web and smartphones comprise the main routes to deliver tools in the study, including social media support. Such technologies have become increasingly useful to drugmakers. Recently, Pfizer ($PFE) piloted a virtual clinical trial that issued smartphones to patients to report their health. Eli Lilly ($LLY), Pfizer, and others have also released mobile apps for doctors and patients with an eye toward supporting their efforts to develop or market pharmaceuticals.

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