Kaia Health and Chiesi Group Strategic Partnership – Agreement Marks a Historic 1st Partnership for Respiratory Care in Europe

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November 30, 2020

Kaia Health, a leading digital therapeutics company, and Chiesi Group, an international research-focused Healthcare group, announced that they have entered into an exclusive partnership to commercialize the Kaia Health Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Pulmonary Rehabilitation app in Europe.

The agreement marks one of the first times in respiratory care that a digital therapeutics company and pharmaceutical company are partnering to bring patients a digital therapeutic that supports COPD treatment outcomes through behavior change, rather than relying on pharmacology.

COPD is an enormous cost for healthcare systems in Europe. In the UK, lung conditions are estimated to cost the NHS and patients around £9.9 billion each year1. Respiratory conditions, including COPD, affect one in five people in England and are the third biggest cause of death2. In England, pulmonary rehabilitation is currently only offered to 13% of eligible COPD patients3.

Under the partnership arrangement, the evidence-backed Kaia Health COPD digital therapeutic, which delivers a personalized, physical pulmonary rehabilitation experience, will be highly focused on key markets in Europe.

The Kaia COPD solution consists of a mobile app-based software program, accessed via an iOS or Android smartphone or tablet, and an interface for motivational support that can be delivered by a provider such as health coaches or healthcare professionals. It digitizes and delivers affordable, accessible, physical Pulmonary Rehabilitation – an essential component of COPD treatment4 – directly to patients’ homes on their smartphone.

The Kaia Health COPD app delivers comprehensive education and customized daily training sessions, along with mindfulness and stress relief exercises, augmented with human coaching support and individualized therapy. The Kaia COPD solution has been investigated in one pilot trial and is currently the subject of an ongoing RCT in Europe. The Kaia Health COPD app is CE Marked in Europe as a Class 1 medical device.

“Our strategic partnership with Chiesi, a growing global company with an established European commercial presence, brings a wealth of experience in navigating the respiratory health landscape in Europe while expanding patient access to evidence-based, digital-physical pulmonary rehabilitation,” said Konstantin Mehl, Founder, and President, Kaia Health. “The entire Kaia Health team is excited to join forces with Chiesi to enhance COPD patient care and quality of life through digital therapeutics.”

Kaia Health is a member of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance (DTA), an international non-profit trade association of industry leaders and stakeholders engaged in the evidence-driven advancement of digital therapeutics.

“We’re pleased to partner with Kaia Health to complement and further strengthen our portfolio in the respiratory therapeutic area, expanding our ability to address patient care through a non-pharmacological approach,” said Ugo Di Francesco, Chief Executive Officer of the Chiesi Group. “This agreement embodies Chiesi’s commitment to providing the highest level of care and quality of life possible for people living with COPD and other respiratory diseases, going beyond merely those issues addressable through medication. We have been impressed with Kaia Health’s experience to date bringing impactful digital solutions to the European market and are looking forward to helping European COPD patients benefit from their expertise.”

“For many years, evidence5 has demonstrated the effectiveness of pulmonary rehabilitation in the treatment of COPD using physical activity and patient-centered, self-management strategies, but there is a serious shortage of access to these therapies6,” said Stephan Huber, M.D., Kaia Health Chief Medical Officer. “Building on our previous expertise with musculoskeletal health and ongoing work in COPD, Kaia Health aims to create scalable access to these therapies for patients suffering from COPD, and we are thrilled to have Chiesi as our partner on this mission.”

“Our goal is to offer a solution that is patient-centric first, digital second,” emphasized Stephan Huber, M.D., Kaia Health Chief Medical Officer. “Our COPD solution is a truly digitized version of key self-management elements of physical pulmonary rehabilitation that aims to improve access to a proven, behavioral COPD intervention7 in a rapidly scalable, patient-focused digital program.”

“Chiesi has a proud tradition of bringing innovative treatments to patients,” added Giovanna Amadori, Head of Global Strategy and Corporate Development at the Chiesi Group. “Rather than partnering around a digital intervention that may help patients as a side benefit, our collaboration with Kaia Health emphasizes a patient-focused intervention that uses digital to maximize access for patients.”


References

1 British Lung foundation.  The battle for breath – the economic burden of lung disease. Available: https://www.blf.org.uk/policy/economic-burden. Last accessed 10th Nov 2020.

2 NHS. Respiratory disease. Available: https://www.england.nhs.uk/ourwork/clinical-policy/respiratory-disease/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2020.

3 NHS. Long term plan – Respiratory Disease. Available: https://www.longtermplan.nhs.uk/online-version/chapter-3-further-progress-on-care-quality-and-outcomes/better-care-for-major-health-conditions/respiratory-disease/. Last accessed 10th Nov 2020.

4 Pleguezuelos, E et al. (2017). Recommendations on Non-Pharmacological Treatment in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease From the Spanish COPD Guidelines. Archivos de Bronconeumología. 54 (11), pg. 568-575.

5 Celli, B et al. (2014). An Official American Thoracic Society/European Respiratory Society Statement: Research Questions in Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. ATS Journal . 191

6 Finizio, D et al. (2015). Understanding inequalities in COPD prevention and care policies across Europe. ERS. 46 (59)

7 Romain, A et al. (2001). Global Strategy for the Diagnosis, Management, and Prevention of Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. ATS Journal. 165 (5)

8 Miravitlles, M & Ribera, A. (2017). Understanding the impact of symptoms on the burden of COPD. BMC Respiratory Research. 18 (67)

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