J&J, Sandoz seek digital health breakthroughs

OTCINACTION

Two stories we picked up this past week involve key OTC marketers, J&J and Sandoz (Novartis), and new digital healthcare initiatives. J&J subsidiary Janssen announced it is collaborating with Apple by conducting a multi-year research study investigating whether the Apple Watch can detect the onset of a stroke.

The study, due to begin later this year and tracking people aged 65+, will explore whether using a medication adherence app from J&J, in combination with Apple Watch’s ECG app, helps to accelerate diagnosis of atrial fibrillation (AFib) and improve healthcare outcomes, including the prevention of stroke. Paul Stoffels, J&J’s Chief Scientific Officer, also said: “Based on the insights generated through this research programme, we may be able to develop new ways to detect other health conditions earlier in the future that also exhibit measurable physiological symptoms.”

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Sandoz has also just announced the three finalists for its second Sandoz Healthcare Access Challenge (HACk). After receiving 400 digital technology submissions from 80 countries, Sandoz narrowed the finalists down to entries from Uganda, the Netherlands and the USA. Finalists take part in a 4-day “accelerator event” in Austin, Texas in March 2019, working with Sandoz to refine their ideas into scalable solutions ahead of final judging. The three finalists are as follows:

  1. Uganda: The Mobile Clinic plans to develop an app that can be used to make emergency appointments via a toll-free number and will be directly linked to a mobile van clinic offering door-to-door services in rural areas.
  2. USA: Regulora is in development as a prescription-only digital therapeutic for IBS based on Gut Directed Hypnotherapy. The mobile app connects patients with automated digital therapy sessions from the comfort of their own home.
  3. Netherlands: Social Genomics is building an AI-based smart social network, enabling people with rare and undiagnosed diseases to connect and share stories, providing access to global real-world patient data insights about treatment options and scientific research.

Explore How Digital is Changing People’s Relationship with Health from Milena Leone, Head of Innovation and Digital Consumer Healthcare, Sanofi at Nicholas Hall’s 30th European CHC Conference in Vienna on 2-4 April 2019. Nicholas Hall will be also be joined by speakers from GSK, HRA Pharma and Prohibition Partners among many others to ensure that you are Keeping Up with the Digital Consumer. The meeting will also feature a workshop from The CHC Training Academy, enabling you to Embrace Digital Transformation. Book before 4 February and save up to GB£300 with our early bird discounts. To find out more, please contact Elizabeth.Bernos@NicholasHall.com.

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Novartis’ OTC future comes into focus

OTCINACTION

Still ranked No.10 globally among OTC marketers, Novartis has nevertheless been gradually disinvesting from the consumer healthcare market in recent years, as it pursues its plan to “become a more focused innovative medicines company”, according to CEO, Vas Narasimhan. Deciding on the future of Sandoz and Alcon is key to this plan, and two developments over the past week have made Novartis’ objectives clearer.

First, Alcon filed an initial Form 20-F registration statement with the US Securities & Exchange Commission in relation to Novartis’ intention to spin off its eye care division Alcon as an independent, publicly-traded company. The deal is expected to complete in H1 2019 – subject to general market conditions, tax rulings and opinions, final endorsement from the Board of Directors and shareholder approval at the 2019 AGM – and “for Alcon, it means more strategic focus and flexibility to pursue compelling growth opportunities in eye care devices, where it has the strongest portfolio and unmatched ability to serve patients worldwide,” says Narasimhan.

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Secondly, despite further spin-off rumours, a Novartis spokesman told Reuters that the company was “completely committed” to Sandoz and “looking at transforming it and making it as strong as it can be in the global generics business.” Novartis recently agreed to sell its Sandoz US dermatology business and generic US oral solids portfolio to Indian-based Aurobindo Pharma. Novartis spokesman Sreejit Mohan said: “The whole goal is to try to make Sandoz as agile as possible … to give it the autonomy to be as agile as possible. That’s essentially been the message that we’ve been delivering, so I have no idea how that led to saying ‘split off.’”

Both developments make the future of the Novartis consumer healthcare business a little clearer, with sales likely to be fairly evenly split between a new standalone Alcon division – including key brands such as Systane, Tears Naturale and Vitalux – and the legacy Novartis OTC business, largely made up of Sandoz. Both these subsidiaries, Sandoz and Alcon, were excluded from the consumer healthcare j-v with GSK, and together have helped establish a Top 10 OTC company – however, split apart, it looks unlikely either will rank in the Top 20 by the second half of 2019.

To keep track of the latest innovations to hit the CHC market, OTC New Products Tracker is the ideal competitive intelligence tool. Last week it also unveiled a major update, with eye-catching new graphs and powerful search filters that help you visualise and explore the vast archive according to your exact requirements. To trial the updated database or for a demo, contact waisan.lee-gabell@NicholasHall.com