Novartis has big plans for SmartPills

Dark Daily, which covers clinical laboratory and pathology news, gives us an update on SmartPills developed by California-based Proteus Biomedical. Early versions operated as a kind of high-tech method of reminding patients to take their meds. Just swallow the SmartPill, then it does the work by sending signals to a chip worn as a patch or embedded in the skin. The chip then uploads data to a smartphone or to the Internet, which passes the information along to a prescribing physician. Making sure patients comply with long-term drug regimens is a big problem for patients and pharmaceutical companies. That's why Big Pharma companies like Novartis are interested in the drug-delivery technology of SmartPills.

Novartis recently announced it is buying exclusive rights to all of Proteus Biomedical's drug-delivery technologies, making Novartis the largest pharmaceutical company to pursue SmartPill technology. SmartPills are essentially digestible chips attached to a prescription drug pill. When the chip touches stomach acid, it's activated and sends a signal to the physician. It can also report any adverse reactions.

Novartis plans to use the technology in drugs taken by transplant patients in the hopes of preventing organ rejections.

"We are taking forward this transplant drug with a chip, and we hope within the next 18 months to have something that we will be able to submit to the regulators, at least in Europe," Dark Daily quotes Novartis' Trevor Mundel as saying. "I see the promise as going much beyond that."

- read the full story on Dark Daily