Cutanea companion app uses selfies to track acne progress for teen patients and doctors

Cutanea is using mobile tech to appeal to a younger patient base.

Acne, mobile phones and digital savviness are all teen truths. And the app for Cutanea Life Science’s first dermatology drug, Aktipak, combines all three.

The drug will launch in the next two weeks complete with a companion mobile app, “Facing Forward," that includes a selfie camera function to visually chart acne progress, dosing and refill reminders, a how-to video for using the med and other acne information.

While Aktipak is Cutanea’s first product, the company plans a similar product-plus-tech co-launch strategy for each of the products in its 10-drug deep, all-dermatology pipeline, Cutanea Brand Manager Bob Bitterman Jr. said in an interview.

“The target demographic for us are the same people who are constantly on their phones. Today’s teenagers and young adults are constantly on the go, and they’re into technology,” Bitterman said. “The app provides an appealing way to help tech savvy patients use the medication as dosed and as directed by their physician.”

But the company isn't counting on its tech appeal alone to woo young users. Aktipak is a combination acne treatment pairing erythromycin and benzoyl peroxide into a single-use packet that can be stored at room temperature. Two separate sleeves in the packet keep the two medications separate until the user combines them for use. Cutanea expects the two-in-one single pack convenience, long shelf life and portability will be key market differentiator in its bid to attract teen and young adult acne sufferers.

Although still under wraps until launch, the app was well-received by doctors at American Association of Dermatology conference in New York recently, Bitterman Jr. said. Part of the reason is that physicians are aware that mobile is increasingly important to patient care, but they also liked that they could track patients' progress and treatment usage with a look at the smartphone app.

The app will be available free both on the iTunes and Google App stores, and it will be marketed to dermatologists to pass along to patients.