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Hephaï Receives 2021 Catalyst Award from US National Academy of Medicine for its Unique Digital Education Platform

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Hephaï Receives 2021 Catalyst Award from US National Academy of Medicine for its Unique Digital Education Platform | Pharmtech Focus

Hephaï, a French start-up developing an AI-based digital education platform, today announces that it received a 2021 Catalyst Award as part of the US National Academy of Medicine ‘Healthy Longevity Global Competition’. The award comes with a $50,000 (€42.2K) prize to further develop its platform.

The Healthy Longevity Global Competition is a multiyear, multimillion-dollar international competition seeking breakthrough innovations to extend human health and function in later life. The Catalyst phase calls on teams and individuals from any background; from science, medicine and health to technology, finance, social sciences and beyond; to submit innovative ideas with the goal of extending the human healthspan. Applications are judged primarily on novelty and innovation.

The US National Academy of Medicine launched the competition and the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Health managed the European applications through the EIT Health Headstart Programme.

“We are extremely proud of this new international award,” said Dr. Valéry Trosini-Desert, Hephaï founder and pulmonologist at the Pitié-Salpêtrière hospital, Paris, France. “We are in a rapid development phase with new partners, including leading pharmaceutical company Chiesi. We have filed a patent for our technology and are reinforcing our expert team to make our digital platform available in the coming months to asthma and COPD patients. We are pursuing one goal: to help patients with chronic respiratory diseases use their treatments correctly and thus live a better life.”

Awardees will attend the upcoming virtual Healthy Longevity Innovator Summit 2021 on September 13, 14 and 22, 2021.

A unique AI-based digital tool for asthma and COPD patients 

Both asthma and COPD are usually treated with medication taken via inhalers. Typically, patients have to make regular use of inhalers in order to take their treatment properly. Unfortunately, usage errors are commonplace: an estimated 30–40% of patients with COPD do not use their inhalers correctly. This can have a direct impact on how they take the medication, reducing its benefits.

Consultations with pulmonologists and GPs are often short, not allowing enough time to monitor the use of the prescribed inhaler medication, or to provide a full explanation to patients on its application. Short patient consultations are also common at the pharmacy. As a result, many people are unaware of the correct techniques to use their inhaler effectively, as they lack professional training or advice. This is why an educational approach is needed, to provide step-by-step instructions on the correct use.

Hephaï’s digital educational platform makes it possible to assess whether the inhaler treatment has been taken correctly. If there are problems, the tool can establish a corrective process, or inform the patient’s doctor. The app can be recommended by the prescribing doctor or pharmacist and will be available for free download in 2022 via Apple and Android devices. It is recognized as a Class 1 medical device.

A total of 299 million people worldwide live with asthma or COPD. Over the past 30 years, there has been unprecedented growth in the market for inhaled therapy, with annual sales having increased from $7 billion (€5.9bn) in 1987 to $36 billion (€30.4bn) in 2014 and with over 90 billion inhaled doses prescribed to patients in a single year.

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