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Big pharma companies strengthen their position in digital health with recent deals

In the last month, there have been several digital health merger and acquisition (M&A) and equity deals by big pharma companies.


Digital health technologies can be used across the pharmaceutical value chain. For example, technologies such as apps and wearables are an integral part of decentralised clinical trials and are used for vital sign monitoring, collecting electronic clinical outcome assessments, facilitating virtual visits with investigators, and monitoring investigational drug adherence. They can also be used to generate and collect digital biomarkers, which are measures collected by sensors embedded in connected devices.


For example, microphones can be used to detect voice biomarkers, fine motor skills can be tested by swiping and typing on touch screens, and electrocardiogram sensors in smartwatches can measure heart rate variabilities to detect conditions such as atrial fibrillation. In post-marketing settings, real-world evidence generated from digital devices can provide a better understanding of product tolerability and toxicity profiles, provide better insights into drivers of adherence, enable remote monitoring of product safety, and integrate the patient experience into research. In sales and marketing, they can be used in ‘beyond the pill’ services and provide medication adherence, remote monitoring, chronic disease management and decision support tools for patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs).


To implement these technologies, pharma companies typically forge partnerships and collaborations with different digital health companies, be they virtual trial vendors, wearable technology providers or mobile app and digital therapeutic developers. In the last month, however, there have been several digital health merger and acquisition (M&A) and equity deals by big pharma companies.


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