Innovative Technologies Signal Bright Future for the Field of Dermatology
Revolutionary advancements continue to be made in the field of dermatology. At LEO Pharma, we are gaining exposure to many of these innovations on a daily basis. In recent months, we’ve had the opportunity to gain some extremely interesting market insights, in particular, at a recent panel discussion moderated by our VP, Peter Aksel Villadsen […]
Revolutionary advancements continue to be made in the field of dermatology. At LEO Pharma, we are gaining exposure to many of these innovations on a daily basis. In recent months, we’ve had the opportunity to gain some extremely interesting market insights, in particular, at a recent panel discussion moderated by our VP, Peter Aksel Villadsen entitled, “Silicon Valley and Dermatology – Future Opportunities,” which was held at this year’s DermSummit hosted by Advancing Innovation in Dermatology earlier this year. Here is some of what we learned.
Access to New Data
The issue of acne has created a multi-billion dollar industry in recent years, however, there has been very little in the way of innovation in treatment over the last decade. In general, multi-drug resistance has posed a problem for dermatologists and patients across the globe, but a number of early-stage start-ups are aiming to disrupt the current market in order to find a solution to this problem. For example, Naked Biome, a microbiome-based therapeutics company is taking a plan of action which mirrors the trend in the healthcare industry around digital technology that is allowing access to new kinds of insightful data. Lead by board-certified Dermatologist and CEO Emma Taylor, the company is using a platform that allows them to perform advanced genomic sequencing more rapidly and accurately. As a result, they are able to identify microbial signatures unique to the patient. The identification of unique microbial signatures may serve as an alternative to antibiotics that are often ineffective for patients.
Similarly, Evidation Health, led by CEO and bioengineering expert Deborah Kilpatrick, is using technology to develop methods for capturing, quantifying and analyzing new sets of data. Kilpatrick wants their platform to be used with wearables, sensors and digital health tools to help track data based on “real-life behaviors” that test the value of treatment in new ways and eventually may lead to more successful therapeutic outcomes.
Remote Healthcare/Patient Engagement
In both dermatology and healthcare as a whole, we’re also seeing increasing efforts to make research and treatment more convenient for doctors and patients by including the use of mobile technologies, telemedicine, machine learning and imaging.
In general, traditional drug development is a very slow and expensive process. But organizations like Science37, a mobile technology and clinical trial company led by founder and CEO Noah Craft, M.D, Ph.D., DTMH, are trying to change that by shifting the center of research from the hospitals/physicians to the patients themselves. Through the use of technology and telemedicine, clinical trials can increasingly take place in the comfort of the patient’s own home, with all stakeholders connected remotely. The platform brings the entire clinical trial directly to the patient, which includes drug delivery, data collection and in the case of dermatology, photographs of the skin. Products like this might truly make a difference in healthcare by not only helping to bring therapies to market faster but also by potentially increasing enrollment in clinical trials.
Machine learning is also playing a role in this fundamental shift in delivering healthcare. Skin Vision (Disclaimer: LEO Pharma has an investment in Skin Vision), a company led by Stephen Seuntjens, has developed a mobile app to aid in the detection and diagnosis of skin cancer. The end-user photographs the skin and sends it to the cloud where a disruptive algorithm based on fractal mathematics determines a result. For a suspicious diagnosis, the patient is given the contact information of a local dermatologist for a follow up.
Many entrepreneurs and industry experts agree that moving forward, data is the most valuable asset in terms of understanding patients on a deeper level and ultimately developing better and more personal methods of care. Many of these up-and-coming technological breakthroughs will allow for doctors and researchers to receive constant and more comprehensive streams of data from their patients while simultaneously reducing the frequency of visits to a hospital, clinic or lab. It will take the cooperation of all stakeholders – doctors, scientists, patients and investors alike – to help bring these new products and services to the forefront of dermatology and healthcare as a whole. One thing is for certain: it is an extremely exciting time for our industry and we are looking forward to what lies ahead.