Prescription digital therapeutics startup MedRhythms has entered into a licensing agreement with Biogen to develop and commercialize its MR-004 product, which aims to improve mobility for people with multiple sclerosis (MS).
Under the deal, MedRhythms would receive a $3 million upfront payment from Biogen, with the potential to earn up to $117.5 million if certain development and commercial milestones are met. The startup is also eligible to receive tiered royalties based on sales.
The MR-004 therapeutic aims to treat gait deficits, a mobility problem that occurs with MS that can make it difficult to walk. In 2020, MedRhythms received FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for its product focused on chronic stroke walking impairments. It uses sensors to measure how well a user can walk to the beat of a song and adjusts the tempo based on those metrics to improve outcomes.
“At MedRhythms, we are committed to redefining what is possible for people living with neurologic diseases by building evidence-based products that meaningfully impact symptoms that have been underserved by traditional treatment modalities,” the company’s CEO Brian Harris said in a statement. “We look forward to what our collaboration with Biogen, a global leader in MS, could mean for the patients we serve around the world.”
WHY IT MATTERS
According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, difficulty walking is one of the more common mobility concerns with MS, and people with the disease are prone to falls that can cause injuries.
“As part of our aspiration in digital health, together with MedRhythms we aim to advance a new, innovative treatment option for people living with MS that may help address walking impairment, a common issue that impacts their overall quality of life,” Martin Dubuc, head of Biogen Digital Health, said in a statement.
“Pioneering in digital therapeutics exemplifies Biogen’s commitment to advance novel therapies that we hope will improve outcomes for people living with MS.”
THE LARGER TREND
MedRhythms raised $25 million in Series B funding in July last year, bringing its total raise to $34 million. This also isn’t the company’s first commercialization partnership. About a year ago, it began working with life sciences commercial services company Eversana to launch its chronic stroke tool.
Meanwhile, MedRhythms isn’t alone in striking deals with traditional pharma players for digital therapeutics. Swedish startup Alex Therapeutics, which raised €3.5 million last month, offers a platform that aims to help pharma and life science partners create and launch digital therapeutics. Early this year, the company entered into a strategic commercial partnership with Pfizer, initially focused on creating digital therapeutics for nicotine addiction treatment.
Sidekick Health, which just announced a $55 million Series B, has inked deals with Pfizer and Bayer. Happify Health recently announced a partnership with healthcare services and pharmaceutical company Zuellig Pharma to commercialize two of its prescription digital therapeutics in Asia.