For patients suffering from such life-threatening illnesses as cancer, chronic lung diseases or HIV, medication regimens can be daunting, with multiple pills or inhalers scheduled throughout the course of the day. But Tel Aviv-based startup Vaica believes things may be about to get a lot simpler.
Vaica has launched Capsuled, a cloud-connected drug-distribution device that is designed to be provided as part of insurance-covered patient support programs. These programs are pharma company-devised plans to guarantee the implementation of complex regimens through at-home support, technology, and coordination with friends and family.
The box-shaped electronic device contains the patient’s pills and/or inhalers, gives audio and visual reminders to the patient when it is time to take medication, and has a screen for pharma company-provided instructional videos.
The product has also the ability to analyze data and to alert doctors, friends or family members if something is wrong — by text or email. The first major clinical tests of the product will be conducted in Italy and an undisclosed network of private hospitals, with patients suffering from Patients with Cardiac Heart Disease (CHD), Diabetes Mellitus (DM) and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
Vaica was founded in 2007 by Tomer Gofer and Dr. Batami Sadan. The firm already has operations worldwide, including in the US, Canadian and UK markets, and is looking to expand. The focus of its work to date has been to provide cloud-based solutions to patients and their caregivers, aimed at guaranteeing adherence to medication regimens.
A New York Times article estimates that poor adherence to medication plans and schedules led to 125,000 deaths and at least 10 percent of hospitalizations in the US. It also costs the US health care system somewhere between $100 billion and $289 billion every year.
“The Capsuled is a unique patient adherence product targeted specifically for the pharmaceutical industry,” said Vaica CEO Tomer Gofer.
“At the core of our technology is cloud-based software, enabling remote management of smart medication dispensers,” he said. Vaica’s focus on cloud-connected solutions to better manage medication intake, he said, would result in “higher adherence levels, better patient outcomes and enhanced support.”
The idea is to better organize information relating to complex medication regimens — connecting the patient to their support network, especially doctors and nurses, through automated cloud technology — and encourage greater adherence to the medication schedule through audio and visual alarms which grow slowly more intense as time elapses. Vaica managers believe this product will have a decisive advantage in the market.
Gofer said that Capsuled is a continuation of the work done on Vaica’s already marketed SimpleMed+ line of medication management products — a “smart,” Wi-Fi accessing, cloud-connected multi-dose management package.
Gofer said that studies conducted on the SimpleMed+ line — which is aimed at a general market of people taking medication, not only chronic or life-threatening diseases — showed 57 percent fewer trips to the hospital compared to patients not using the products. From there Vaica moved on to developing Capsuled, working with pharma companies to develop a product that could be included in insurance-backed patient support programs for people battling chronic and severe ailments, which are even more complicated to manage.
He said that the product development began three years ago when Vaica partnered with a pharma company — he declined to reveal which one — to study how current PSP-based medication regimens work.
“We learned a lot about what’s missing,” Gofer said. “They [the patients] wanted to be connected… so we’ve built a better system for doing that.”