Pear hopes new deals will bear fruit


The deals announced by Pear Therapeutics yesterday, with Empatica, Etectrx and Keywise, represent the convergence of several aspects of digital health. They also represent an attempt by the company to diversify away from its core technology of prescription apps, which have yielded lacklustre data and been deserted by Pear’s development partners, Novartis and its subsidiary Sandoz. Certainly the company is not abandoning its apps, several of which are on the market in the US – in one case, temporarily – as therapies for addiction and neurological conditions. Instead it is working to incorporate other companies’ technologies, including wearables, sensors and keystroke trackers, to make its products more useful. The new deals add to the licence Pear signed last year with Winterlight Labs, under which it gained Winterlight’s voice analysis software which the company claims can assess a patient’s cognitive health. No financial details were released for any of the deals listed below. Pear’s embracing of remote physiological sensing is not a bad idea considering its recent run of bad news, and it will be interesting to see whether other prescription app makers like Orexo and Click Therapeutics pursue a similar approach. 

Pear Therapeutics' digital partnerships
Partner Technology Purpose
Empatica A smartwatch that can track heart rate, fine locomotor behaviours and skin temperature and conductance To evaluate withdrawal symptoms in patients with addictions to opioids, alcohol and other substances
Etectrx  ID-Cap digital pill, an ingestion marker To enhance medication adherence 
Keywise Artificial intelligence-enabled keystroke detection algorithm To track and produce mental health metrics in indications including depression, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, substance use disorder, opioid use disorder, insomnia and pain
Winterlight Labs* Machine learning-based voice analysis software To develop digital biomarkers for diseases including Alzheimer’s, depression, insomnia, schizophrenia and opioid use and substance use disorders
*Winterlight agreement dates from 2020, all others announced April 6, 2021. Source: company release.

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