Shire tweaks popular hemophilia app platform to serve hard-to-treat patients

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Shire's latest partner, independent app maker MicroHealth, was founded by a hemophilia A patient.

Shire last week moved to help hemophiliacs with inhibitors better manage their disease digitally. The pharma struck a deal with independent hemophilia platform MicroHealth to customize its existing app to specifically help the 5% to 7% of patients who have an antibody immune system response to treatments.

The MicroHealth app was created in 2011 by Aaron Craig, who has hemophilia A, in an effort to apply the lessons learned from his own experience in managing his disease to help others get to better adherence. Users can log information and set reminders for prophylactic and on-demand infusions, bleeds or skipped-day episodes. Healthcare providers can also monitor patients through the app.

MicroHealth’s track record is solid. Already an estimated 20% of American hemophilia patients who are on prophylactic treatments use the app, and a recent study showed that bleeding rates were 57% lower in patients monitored by healthcare providers via the app versus those who weren’t.

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Shire found out about the small team at MicroHealth through the company's popularity with providers and patients, a spokeswoman said via email.

“In collaborating with MicroHealth, we learned about their mission to shape the future of chronic care management by engaging patients, triggering positive behavior change and connecting patients with all involved in their care to help improve treatment decisions,” she said. “… We saw an important need to customize the app with extensions to better support patients with inhibitors and their care teams.”

Shire plans to promote the free app—available on the Apple and Google app stores—through its sales team relationships with healthcare providers and encourage further adoption of MicroHealth by hematologists and at hemophilia centers.

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Shire markets hemophilia drugs including Advate, Adynovate, Vonvendi and Feiba, a treatment specifically for hemophilia patients with inhibitors that Shire picked up last year with its Baxalta acquisition. Hemophilia drug sales totaled $2.24 billion in 2016, accounting for 21% of the Dublin drugmaker's overall revenue. In an investor presentation last year, Shire noted its leadership in rare hematology and said it expects the $10 billion hemophilia market to increase to $13 billion by 2020.