Pear clinches licensing deals aimed at expanding digital therapeutics platform

Pear Therapeutics announced Tuesday that it is licensing technologies from several companies, including Empatica, etectRx and KeyWise, to bolster its prescription digital therapeutics (PDT) platform with the addition of machine learning algorithms, sensor-based products and digital biomarkers. Pear says the deals also complement voice-based biomarkers it previously licensed from Winterlight Labs.

Corey McCann, CEO of Pear, said the agreements "expand [our]…PDT platform and create optionality as the space grows beyond neurobehavioral therapies," while accessing external technologies "allows us to build PDTs with new capabilities and continue to broaden their scope and effectiveness." Financial terms were not disclosed.

Pear licensed machine learning-based voice digital biomarkers from Winterlight Labs last year. At the time, Pear suggested it would use the technology to develop and clinically validate digital biomarkers for a range of diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, depression, insomnia, schizophrenia, opioid-use disorder (OUD) and substance-use disorder (SUD).

According to Pear, the technologies licensed under the new deals will allow it to build up a "comprehensive product offering for remote sensing of patient physiology," something it says could allow for digital therapeutic content and drug dosing to be personalised for patients in real-time.

Tracking withdrawal symptoms with wearables

Under Pear's collaboration with Empatica, the companies will explore using wearable sensors to evaluate withdrawal symptoms in patients with SUD, OUD and alcohol-use disorder. Empatica's FDA-cleared and CE-marked smartwatches are designed to track heart rate, fine locomotor behaviours, skin temperature, and skin conductance to quantify autonomic nervous system response.

Together with etectRx, Pear is exploring the development of digital therapeutics combined with digital pills. The FDA cleared etectRx's ID-Cap system in 2019 as an ingestible event marker. The digital pill "is designed to guide digital, patient-centric, and value-based therapeutic interventions to enhance medication adherence and improve patient outcomes," Pear said.

Individualised mental health metrics

Meanwhile, Pear also licensed an artificial intelligence-enabled keystroke detection algorithm from KeyWise, with which it "intends to build capabilities to track and produce individualised mental health metrics with natural language processing in PDTs." Pear said it licensed the technology to develop and clinically validate digital biomarkers across a number of conditions, including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, SUD, OUD, insomnia and pain.

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