USA – Pharma giant, Pfizer, has entered into a new strategic commercial partnership with Swedish startup Alex Therapeutics to provide evidence-based, clinically validated, and personalized digital therapies to patients.

The collaborative effort will make use of Alex Therapeutics’ AI-based platform, which combines cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT) with AI to personalize care.

Initially, the pair will concentrate on developing digital therapeutics for nicotine addiction treatment, with a focus on the German market, one of the world’s largest unified health markets.

In our efforts to give patients access to new, innovative forms of therapy, it is our aim to fully benefit from the possibilities of digitization. Alex Therapeutics is a very promising company due to its approach of combining the latest psychological findings on dealing with harmful behavior with the possibilities of artificial intelligence,” said Aylin Tüzel, country manager for Pfizer Germany, explaining the choice of cooperation partner.

According to the World Health Organization, tobacco kills more than eight million people each year. Several digital health companies, such as Quit Genius, Carrot, and CureApp SC, have developed digital tools to aid in smoking cessation.

Pfizer has also worked in the smoking cessation field in the past. It previously released Chantix, a drug designed to help patients quit smoking.

However, the company issued a voluntary nationwide recall of Chantix in the United States in September due to the level of the nitrosamine N-nitroso-varenicline.

Pfizer has long been interested in the digital therapeutic space. In June 2020, the company announced a US$8 million partnership with Sidekick Health to launch a digital therapeutic platform.

In addition, the company has expressed an interest in incorporating more digital elements into research. Pfizer previously collaborated with the Digital Medicine Society (DiMe) and other life science companies on an atopic dermatitis-focused digital endpoint initiative.

Many other large life science companies have dabbled in digital marketing. Novartis and Ada Health, a medical AI company, collaborated in May on a new diagnosis for patients with immunological diseases and rare conditions.

Novartis has previously collaborated with digital therapeutics company Pear; however, the two parted ways in late 2019 on their high-profile collaboration centered on substance-abuse recovery therapeutics reSET and reSET-O.

Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research (NIBR) continues to collaborate with the company on schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis research.

Sanofi has also been collaborating with digital therapeutic Happify Health on treating multiple sclerosis symptoms since 2019.

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