Over the past month, our HealthXL community members discussed the adoption of prescription digital therapeutics (PDTs), routes to market for digital health in oncology, and approaching investors with DTx, among other topics. We’ve put together a snapshot of five expert insights from these meetings.
#1 Adoption of prescription DTx: Even though Germany’s DiGA framework has opened a new path for reimbursement, it is not enough; significant investments in marketing and sales are needed. After being listed, the big challenge is to educate and convince doctors. No one has found the silver bullet yet, but it seems like an approach that may work is a mix of the traditional detailed promotion and innovative promotion strategies. From a sales perspective, the consultant-like model is better than the salesperson model. Companies currently listed on the DiGA and in the market are paving the path for future companies. There is the thought that it will be easier for new companies to talk to physicians since the current companies are doing the hard work of raising their awareness of digital health solutions. New companies need to consider this when future-proofing their business model.
#2 On routes to market for digital health in oncology: The marriage of digital health and oncology is very new, with companies still figuring out the best approach. For entrepreneurs, it is important to have as many options as possible, so flexibility in approach is required. The ability to pivot between, or potentially combine, business and particular reimbursement models is something that companies should consider. One model might not be sufficient. For instance, a direct-to-consumer (D2C) approach may be required to find champions for a product, but a business-to-business (B2B) model could be needed to scale sustainably.
#3 On DTx employer partnerships: Dealing with employers requires a different approach than with life science or medical partners. While a strong evidence base is still vital, it will be examined differently. Some of the metrics required will be less about the healthcare outcome and more about productivity, and employee satisfaction. That said, clinical trials remain important ways to illustrate the efficacy of a solution. Credibility is important and clinical evidence is often a foot in the door, even if a partner does not have the expertise to dissect it in detail.
#4 On approaching investors with DTx: Crafting the narrative. For an early-stage company, don’t overdo the number of slides. Show a view of the finances for three years but mainly detailed for a year. The nightmare scenario for an investor is that a company can’t get to the next milestone or funding round. Companies should be careful in forecasting revenue, they often don’t meet projections and burn more cash than anticipated. Companies need to have a zoomed-out view that shows the team understands the milestones (technical, product, and team) and how each funding round delivers the company to the next stage.
#5 On combo DTx-drug clinical and economic evidence: Study design will be different depending on the moment in the drug lifecycle that a DTx is added. When designing a trial for a combo drug-DTx it will be challenging to attribute the adverse events and health benefits to either the drug or the DTx. There is no clarity on the best approach. Another big problem in some countries is regulatory bodies may not allow showing evidence with a specific commercial drug; they may ask it to be for the therapeutic area or a drug class.
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