Novartis community-focused NET app gets a 'featured' boost from Apple's App Store

Novartis headquarters
Novartis' newest app addresses the NET cancer patient, doctor and caregiver journey with visual storytelling. (Wikimedia Commons)

Novartis’ Galaxies of Hope neuroendocrine tumor app got a bonus bump from Apple at its recent launch. The bestowing of “Featured App” status in its first week helped push positive reviews and downloads for the community-building app.

Developed with Numinous Games—which dreamed up the award-winning “That Dragon, Cancer” app about a young boy and his family’s journey through terminal cancer—along with input from the NET community, Galaxies of Hope uses visual storytelling and music to depict perspectives from patients, doctors and caregivers. Developers spent a year in the works before launching the app in Apple's store July 12.

Since then, it has garnered largely positive reviews, with a 4.8 average out of 5. It ranked as the No. 4 free medical app on iPads and No. 41 on iPhones at the end of last week, according to SimilarWeb. The app will become available in the Google Play store in next few weeks.

“To develop the Galaxies of Hope app, we interviewed actual patients, caregivers, and physicians and asked them to describe in their own words what it’s like to navigate the NET cancer journey,” Eric Althoff, head of global media relations at Novartis, said in an email interview. "We believe visual storytelling based on the words of patients, caregivers and physicians will help others to learn more about the NET cancer journey.

"The stones, fuel and balloons seen in the Galaxies of Hope app are metaphors for life—feelings and experiences that weigh you down, energize you, and free you to improve your life experience,” Althoff added.

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Novartis has worked with the NET cancer community for 30 years, he said, and the company’s experience with the rare and chronic cancer led to recognition that all three groups—patients, caregivers and doctors—deserved a voice on the app.

In January, Novartis received FDA approval for Lutathera, a first-in-class RLT therapy for neuroendocrine tumors, to treat gastroenteropancreatic neuroendocrine tumors, after a priority review. That new drug joined Novartis'  other NET therapies, Sandostatin and Afinitor, in that specialized field. The company acquired Lutathera in the $3.9 billion purchase of Advanced Accelerator Applications, finalized at the beginning of 2018; the deal also included a portfolio of NET diagnostic products.

Novartis reported income for Lutathera of $24 million in the U.S. in its second-quarter filing and described the launch as “progressing well.”