Novartis has partnered with US-based firm Pear Therapeutics for the development of new prescription software applications ‘digital therapeutics’ to help patients with schizophrenia and multiple sclerosis.

The new solutions are meant to address the complete disease burden and deliver treatments such as cognitive behavioural therapy through mobile and desktop applications.

For the development of the digital therapeutics, Novartis’ biomedical research and clinical development expertise will be combined with Pear’s knowledge on digital therapeutics design and implementation.

When approved, these treatments are expected to be given along with drug therapies for better patient outcomes.

Novartis Institutes for Biomedical Research president Jay Bradner said: “Psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases place a heavy physical, mental and economic burden on patients and their families.

“Psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases place a heavy physical, mental and economic burden on patients and their families.”

“With widespread adoption of digital devices, prescription digital therapeutics could potentially play an important role in future treatment models for a range of diseases with high unmet medical need.”

Under the alliance, the firms will jointly work on advancing the development of their digital therapeutic for schizophrenia patients called THRIVE, which is reported to have shown positive usability, retention and preliminary efficacy profile during early clinical studies.

Novartis and Pear further plan to design and develop a new therapeutic application to target underserved mental health burden in patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

Pear Therapeutics president and CEO Corey McCann said: “We believe this collaboration further supports the clinical viability of prescription digital therapeutics as an emerging treatment modality and we are poised to execute on that opportunity.”

Pear’s software application received the first US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) clearance in September 2017, indicating its safety and efficacy to treat patients. The firm obtained funding from Novartis during a Series B round held last month.