The Sainte-Catherine Cancer Institute in Avignon will experiment with a connected drug dispenser

“The delivery of drugs in boxes, blisters or pillboxes kills directly or indirectly hundreds of thousands of people every year!”, Warns the institute in a press release issued on August 31.

“They are sources of dispensing errors in 57% of cases. 10% of the serious complications they generate lead to 10,000 deaths per year for France. They are waste factors. One in two drugs is unused, ie several hundred billions of dollars […], without counting the counterfeit drugs which without secure packaging represent today 200 billion dollars “, completes the Avignon health establishment.

After “five years of research”, the teams of the French companies La Valériane and SGH Healthcaring, specialized in the manufacture of solutions for the administration of the drug, have developed the connected drug dispenser Thess.

“This work was carried out in collaboration with the teams from the Institut Sainte-Catherine and the Institut Paoli-Calmettes (Marseille), who have been guiding us since 2017, sharing their experience with us and informing us of their needs at each stage. of the research and development phase “, Roland Sicard told TICsanté (site of the APM International group of which TecHopital is a part).

Thess, for Therapy Smart System, is an integrated solution that guarantees medication packaging, ensures the correct dispensing of the prescribed dose of medication in real time and connects the patient to healthcare professionals in real time and continuously, via monitoring applications. telesurveillance and monitoring.

Useful as part of oral chemotherapy, the solution combines a dispenser, resembling a smartphone, with capsules containing the drugs.

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“I often take the example of Nespresso capsules and coffee machines. We have designed medication packaging capsules that contain an electronic chip and an intelligent medication dispenser, the ‘coffee maker’ of sorts. They communicate in real time thanks to to a 3G card integrated into the distributor and a chip integrated into the capsule, “explained the president of the Institut Sainte-Catherine.

“The whole system is extremely secure. The dispenser is equipped with an identity-vigilance system and the capsule is configured by the care teams and assigned to a patient. It is also equipped with a remote camera. ‘inside, allowing in particular to see if it is indeed the right medicine and the right quantity which is delivered. “

In addition, the distributor warns patients when they must take their treatment, checks that it has been delivered and in compliance with the prescribed doses. All the information is then transmitted to the healthcare teams who monitor the patient remotely, via the remote monitoring software interfaced with the solution.

“This allows healthcare teams to adjust the doses or combinations of drugs and be alerted in the event of a problem,” said Roland Sicard.

Thess will be tested with 100 patients from the Sainte-Catherine and Paoli-Calmettes institutes (50 patients each) from “February-March 2021”. In the meantime, “the telesurveillance and monitoring part has already been experienced for two months”, said the president of Sainte-Catherine.

In addition, experiments will also be carried out “in two American cancer establishments, under the supervision of the Georgia Tech Research Institute in Atlanta” and should also bring together 100 patient testers. “Other hospitals will be able to access the solution from July 2021”, hopes Roland Sicard.

“The dispensing machine costs the same as a mid-range smartphone, around 400 euros to buy or 20 euros per month to rent,” explained Roland Sicard.

“The capsules cost between 2 and 3 euros each. For an oral treatment of 4 months, it takes 4 capsules, or 120 tablets”, he developed.

“As part of our experiments, it is the health establishment that pays for all this. These are marginal costs that a hospital can bear and with these capsules which preserve the integrity of the drug, all those who will not have not used will be recovered by the hospital “, he commented.

“In the long term, if certain treatments and molecules have a real benefit from having this kind of technology to improve compliance or the right dosage, we can imagine that the price of the smart pillbox is part of the price of the drug and is sold with it. The payer would then be health insurance, “also considers Roland Sicard.

In the meantime, Thess has worldwide patents shared between La Valériane and SGH Healthcaring.

Founded in 2008 in Montpellier, the medtech La Valériane has, for the time being, invested 5 million euros in the financing of this solution and is currently preparing a fundraising of 3 to 5 million euros “in the coming months” to continue their development.

“We preferred to take charge of the financial part and leave the R&D part to SGH Healthcaring”, said the founder of La Valériane.

In addition, the manufacture of the dispensers and capsules for the Thess solution will be “exclusively entrusted to the French plastics factories of SGH Healthcaring”, he said.

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“Everything will be 100% made in France, it will be a pure ‘cocorico!’ Product!”

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