Sanofi's latest gaming app invites kids on diabetes-fighting mission

When it comes to engaging patients and teaching them to manage their Type 1 diabetes, Sanofi ($SNY) is starting young. The French drugmaker last week rolled out a new app aimed at children, designed to help them share their knowledge about the disease.

Dubbed Mission T1D, the iOS- and Android-friendly game is set in a school. Players must win points to advance through the game's levels, with each one illustrating a message from a wise old "sensei" about living with Type 1 diabetes at school, PMLiVE reports. At the end of each level, after watching an educational video that explains a key subject about living with the disease, players can become a "Grand Master."

"It is essential that children, parents and carers have the knowledge and skills to manage diabetes but they also need their friends, teachers and other people in the school environment to understand and support them to care for their diabetes effectively," Dr. Sheridan Waldron, a specialist diabetes dietitian, said in a statement. "Sharing information and fostering a caring environment at school will help children with diabetes to feel normal, happy and ensure that they reach their full potential in a safe environment."

It's not Sanofi's first foray into diabetes mobile gaming. The launch of Mission T1D follows less than a year after the drug giant's last effort, Monster Manor, which encourages players to regularly test and record their blood glucose levels.

"As a company, we have entered the diabetes gaming arena to improve health outcomes for children with type 1 diabetes," Rebecca Reeve, head of professional relations at Sanofi Diabetes, said in a statement. "We hope that the teachers, parents and carers for whom this game was developed will make it their mission to make this game a success."

Sanofi has good reason to encourage diabetes management and education. Its behemoth, Lantus, is the world's leading diabetes med with $7.6 billion in 2013 sales, and it's inching toward the end of its patent life.

But it's not just Sanofi that's trending toward gamification. With more and more patients using tablets and mobile devices for medication information, drugmakers are increasingly turning to games as a way to promote awareness and encourage adherence. Boehringer Ingelheim, for one, last year introduced "Complications Combat," which aims to help educate diabetics on which behaviors can exacerbate their illness, in conjunction with Eli Lilly ($LLY).

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Special Reports: 20 Big Pharma and biotech mobile apps - 2013 | The top 10 best-selling diabetes drugs of 2013 - Lantus

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