JAPAN – Pear Therapeutics Inc., and SoftBank Group Corp have agreed to collaborate on the development of a Japanese-language digital therapeutic for sleep/wake disorders for the Japanese market.

This strategic initiative is part of Pear’s global commercialization strategy for digital therapeutics.

Digital therapeutics have the potential to make treatment for behavioral and neurological conditions much more affordable, effective, and widely available—so, while many developers are seeking FDA clearance for their digital tools, they are not limiting themselves to the English-speaking market in the United States.

Pear Therapeutics, for example, has recently begun translating some of its offerings into Spanish and is now preparing to adapt its existing digital insomnia therapeutic for Japanese patients.

Pear will develop digital therapeutic applications for sleep/wake disorders for the Japanese market under the terms of the agreement, and SoftBank will investigate the Japanese market potential for those applications.

According to Pear’s citation of data from the Japanese Association of Preventive Medicine for Adult Disease, roughly 20% of all adults in the country are chronically sleep deprived, and nearly as many reports feeling excessively sleepy throughout the day.

Agreement terms

SoftBank will provide information about the Japanese market to Pear as it begins developing Japanese-language software under the terms of the agreement.

Once the software is ready for distribution, SoftBank has the option of negotiating an exclusive license in Japan for Pear’s digital therapeutics for sleep/wake disorders.

The deal’s financial terms were not disclosed, but SoftBank has consistently provided financial support to Pear since 2020. SoftBank Vision Fund 2 led Pear’s US$80 million series D funding in December of that year.

Only a few months later, the fund was listed as one of the investors in the US$125 million private investment that accompanied the US$1.6 billion SPAC transaction that took Pear public in December 2021.

The agreement with SoftBank comes about two years after Pear received FDA approval for and began rolling out Somryst, its English-language digital therapeutic for chronic insomnia in patients aged 22 and older, in the United States.

Over the course of six to nine weeks, the prescription-only, fully virtual software employs cognitive behavioral therapy techniques to train the brain and body to sleep.

Clinical trials involving over 1,400 insomniac adults found that the software cut the time it took to fall asleep nearly in half and had roughly the same impact on the severity of their other insomnia symptoms.

Those benefits were also shown to be sustained and even improved six and twelve months after the program ended.

Liked this article? Sign up to receive our regular email newsletters, focused on Africa and World’s healthcare industry, directly into your inbox. SUBSCRIBE HERE