HumanITcare and Gebro Phama partner up to help patients with asthma – #BHHMembersInitiatives

BHH members Laboratorios Gebro Pharma and the startup HumanITcare have recently signed a collaboration agreement through which they will launch a connected health solution for patients with asthma. The relationship between the pharmaceutical company and the startup, which began in 2022 under the auspices of the Catalan Government’s Innovation Aid Programme for the Competitiveness of Enterprise (BHH partner ACCIÓ), is now consolidated in a corporate-startup relationship.

In that first phase of the collaboration between the two companies, a first prototype was carried out on a connected health solution that would help asthmatic patients and their healthcare professionals. In this second stage of collaboration, and as a result of this second agreement, both companies move to the phase of completing the prototype, making it functional and validating it clinically to make it reach potential patients later. The ultimate goal of this project is to market this solution together in the coming years.

The solution allows asthmatic patients to monitor different relevant parameters autonomously and from any location. Among the most noteworthy are lung capacity, heart rate, blood pressure, and blood oxygen saturation. By combining this information with parameters previously collected during patient visits, a platform analyses health data and sends relevant notifications to both the patient and the healthcare professional. This notification system does not replace the specialist, but can provide additional information to help with decision-making related to monitoring, treatment, adherence, and prevention of poorly controlled mild or severe asthma.

This connected health solution is pioneering in Spain. It is designed to improve and simplify the doctor-patient collaboration and will use a digital communication that is both user-friendly and comprehensive. Asthma is a chronic condition, and it is critical for patients to have as much knowledge as possible in real-time about their condition and the effectiveness of their treatments.

Gebro Pharma and the startup HumanITcare will work together to co-develop this solution, ensuring the privacy of users with a GDPR-compliant system that guarantees that all data will be encrypted and anonymized with the highest standards of digital security.

The co-development of this solution is part of Gebro Pharma‘s innovation strategy, and it also strengthens its presence in the Respiratory Area and its commitment to patients with poorly controlled mild or severe asthma. These patients are one of its main areas of interest, thanks to a recent partnership between the company and BHH member Novartis for the commercialization in Spain of two products aimed at them.

Through this collaboration, both companies seek new ways to address the unmet medical needs around patients diagnosed with asthma but not well-controlled. “Currently, there is no comprehensive solution that covers most of these needs. These include the shortage of healthcare resources to offer more personalized treatment to patients, the high healthcare burden of the healthcare professional, limited time per visit, or the lack of disease education on the part of patients or their caregivers, among others,” emphasizes Gustavo Pérez, Director of Commercial Operations at Gebro Pharma. All of this can make people with asthma feel unsupported while being treated and also lacking tools to better control or understand their own condition. This lack of control can lead to a worsening of the condition as well as an increase in healthcare pressure on healthcare professionals.

In the words of Ivet Vall, Director of Business Development & Innovation at Gebro Pharma, “this collaboration reaffirms Gebro‘s constant commitment to innovation, which in this case seeks to complement our portfolio with technological solutions beyond drugs. In this line, since last year, we have been an active part of the Barcelona Health Hub ecosystem, and we will continue to explore new avenues that help improve the quality of life of patients and those who assist them.”

For her part, Núria Pastor, CEO and co-founder of HumanITcare, highlights that “the commitment with Gebro towards better monitoring of asthma patients is an example of how the ecosystem is becoming digitalized. We hope to reach thousands of patients and specialists with this alliance and to improve their quality of life by offering remote monitoring with our technology.”

Asthma is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by bronchial hyperactivity and variable airflow obstruction. Those who suffer from it have their quality of life limited, especially in physical activity-related tasks, and their sleep quality. The main symptoms include a sensation of breathlessness and chest tightness, coughing, wheezing, and inability to achieve deep and prolonged sleep during the night. In Spain, there are three million diagnosed patients according to the prevalence data of CIBERES, a biomedical research network center for respiratory diseases, although it is estimated that 50% of patients with asthma do not have a clinical diagnosis. Among those diagnosed, the disease is considered severe in 4% of cases, while 60% do not have good symptom control.