With Olumiant on track for atopic dermatitis filing, Lilly crowdsources ideas for digital patient tools

Eli Lilly
Eli Lilly hopes to find innovative solutions for people living with atopic dermatitis, tapping healthcare inventors in its second innovation challenge. (Lilly)

Eli Lilly is ready for some more digital ideas from the crowd—and this time, it's casting a really wide net.

In its second innovation challenge, Lilly seeks any and all digital tech that could improve health and well-being for people with inflammatory skin diseases like atopic dermatitis, a field the company could soon enter with its JAK inhibitor Olumiant.

“Treating conditions like atopic dermatitis can be challenging. We did not want to focus on any one area of application of digital tools,” Lilly Chief Digital Officer Rich Carter said via email. "A broad call for potential solutions allows us to identify and discuss opportunities that may provide unique and innovative approaches to help people living with atopic dermatitis.”

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Skin conditions are complex health issues with emotional as well as physical ramifications. As Carter noted, “Skin-related diseases are more than skin deep,” adding that Lilly is excited to review digital ideas that could transform care for this group of people.

Eli Lilly and partner Incyte are under regulatory review for JAK inhibitor Oluminant to treat atopic dermatitis in Europe. The two are expected to file similar reviews in the U.S. and Japan this year. Olumiant was approved in 2018 to treat rheumatoid arthritis.

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If Lilly and Incyte do get the atopic dermatitis nod, Olumiant faces stiff competition from Sanofi and Regeneron's Dupixent, which is already leading that market with blockbuster sales.

The pharma company ran its first innovation challenge last fall around inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). Boston Children's Hospital and Klick Health won with the HealthVoyager software platform, which allows doctors to create personalized and educational experiences, including a virtual reality internal body tour, for IBD patients.

Entries can be submitted online through Oct. 21; a panel of experts will narrow down the entrants to five finalists in November. The grand prize winner will be awarded $50,000 and the potential to co-develop the idea with Lilly.

Lilly’s laundry list of possible technologies includes mobile apps, sensors and wearables, connected drug delivery devices, real-time monitoring and digital games. Ideas can be conceptual or in early development stages.