Takeda teams with Cedars Sinai on tech tool to personalize IBD treatment choices

Takeda building
Takeda sponsored research by Cedars-Sinai developed a tool to narrow down patient preferences when considering IBD treatment. (Takeda)

The art of interpreting patient preferences is getting a technology upgrade in a new Takeda initiative aimed at helping inflammatory bowel disease patients sort through available treatments.

Takeda sponsored Cedars-Sinai's development of an online tool that uses a marketing technique to create personalized profiles of inflammatory bowel disease patients. The app IBD&Me guides patients through a series of questions—using the marketing concept of conjoint analysis—to figure out the attributes of biologic drugs they would or wouldn’t prefer.

It's a translation of consumer marketing into the pharma world.

“This is a technique that’s designed to help consumers make decisions about what product they want to buy, something a lot more trivial generally than what medicine you’re going to take. But (in that same way) it uses the patient’s preferences by giving them multiple choices between hypothetical products and attributes,” said Dr. Brennan Spiegel, director of Cedars-Sinai Health Services Research.

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Based on each answer given, the software decides the next comparison to show the patient, getting more and more specific to narrow down a patient’s preferences in a treatment. The result is a patient profile that point the way to the best treatment for that person. The app is unbranded, and there are no specific biologics recommended in the end result.

“It’s important because (choosing a treatment) is an impactful and important decision that is complex. It cannot be easily made in a 10-minute discussion. We’ve created this app to prime the patient and doctor to have a more meaningful and impactful discussion—and hopefully make better decisions,” Spiegel said.

Takeda, which makes the biologic IBD treatment Entyvio, and Cedars-Sinai published the original analysis that led to the development of the IBD&Me app in the January issue of The American Journal of Gastroenterology. The Cedars-Sinai work initially studied and analyzed social media posts and mentions to determine what factors influenced the treatment IBD patients sought. The survey app was then created to decipher the importance of those biologic attributes to each person who takes it.

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IBD&Me was validated with more than 600 patients, and as Spiegel noted, no two of them were exactly alike. The goal of the personalized IBD app is to improve outcomes by involving the patient move in their treatment and care.

“In shared decision-making, whatever the decision is, if the patient is engaged and meaningfully enabled to make a decision or arrive at a conclusion, they’re more likely to carry out that health behavior. So it can improve adherence, which in turn improves outcomes,” he said.

Takeda's Entyvio is approved to treat Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis. Sales of Entyvio were about $1.365 billion (149.5 billion yen) for the first three quarters pf 2017, already surpassing total sales in 2016 of about $1.307 billion (143.2 billion yen) without the final quarter. Takeda has reported that it expects the drug to reach peak annual sales of more than $2 billion.