SINGAPORE and BOSTON, Dec. 3, 2020 /PRNewswire/ -- Neuroglee Therapeutics, which builds personalized evidence-based prescription digital therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, has announced its company launch with $2.3 million in pre-seed funding. Neuroglee's technology leverages artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning and novel digital biomarkers with the goal of slowing the progression of neurogenerative diseases—starting with Alzheimer's disease.
The pre-seed funding round was led by Eisai Co. Ltd, a leading global pharmaceutical company headquartered in Tokyo, Japan, whose pipeline includes Alzheimer's disease drugs. Other leading investors in digital health, including Kuldeep Singh Rajput, founder and CEO of Biofourmis, participated in the round.
Only five drugs have been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to treat the symptoms of Alzheimer's disease, with the latest approval back in 2003. Although 121 drugs are in development to treat Alzheimer's disease, most are expected to produce only a mild to moderate effect on patients' cognitive functioning, behavior and other symptoms—underscoring the urgent need for adjunctive complementary therapies.
That's where Neuroglee's digital therapeutics (DTx) solution comes in.
Neuroglee, a Singapore-based startup that plans to open its U.S. operations in Boston in the first quarter of 2021, will offer DTx that can be used with pharmacological therapy or as a standalone treatment, with a focus on slowing dementia-related cognitive decline. Set to begin clinical trials early next year, Neuroglee's in-home solution employs engaging gamification techniques and cognitive tasks on a digital tablet so that patients' doctors can remotely monitor their cognitive function and intervene using personalized cognitive rehabilitation techniques.
"Neurodegenerative disease is a severely underserved market even though more than 20% of the U.S. population will be 65 years or older by 2030," said Aniket Singh Rajput, founder and CEO of Neuroglee. "Our remote cognitive monitoring solution serves this growing population by combining our expertise in cognitive neuroscience, behavior modification and digital biomarkers to augment prescription therapy or as a standalone therapy, with a goal of improving behavior and mood to help slow cognitive decline."
Neuroglee's machine-learning algorithms personalize each patient's therapy by automatically adjusting, or titrating, the therapeutic mobile-based activities based on several novel digital biomarkers tied to cognitive function, mood and behavior. For example, adjustments will be made to the number and type of tasks and games that are offered, based on the speed of the patient's finger movements, time to complete games or tasks, and their facial expression identified through the device camera.
The solution also incorporates reminiscence therapy, which uses images from the patient's past to evoke positive memories and emotions, which have been shown to improve cognitive functioning. These and other cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) techniques can reduce depression and anxiety that are common in patients with Alzheimer's disease and other neurodegenerative diseases.
"The understanding that healthcare needs to put patients and their families first has always been at the heart of Eisai's philosophy," said Kazumasa Nagayama, vice president and chief strategy officer of Eisai. "Neuroglee's solution exemplifies this philosophy, as it prioritizes the well-being of both patients and caregivers, while also contributing to the greater scientific mission of finding effective treatments for these currently incurable diseases. We are proud to support this cause and we are thrilled to be working with Neuroglee to realize this vision."
Supporting Caregivers and Clinicians
Alzheimer's disease is the sixth-leading cause of death in the United States, with 14 million Americans expected to have Alzheimer's dementia by 2050. The projected cost of caring for patients with Alzheimer's disease and other dementias in the United States is expected to reach $305 billion in 2020, increasing to $1.1 trillion in 2050. Approximately 70% of the cost of caring for patients with dementia is borne by families, either through out-of-pocket spending and long-term care expenses or from uncompensated care.
Neuroglee's solution is designed to improve outcomes and lower care costs by reducing family caregiver and clinician burden while helping to detect signs of cognitive decline earlier and offering DTx therapy aimed at slowing that decline. The solution supports clinicians and caregivers by offering an effective, personalized tool they can use in the home to improve behavior and mood based on CBT principles that support cognitive function.
With frequent remote monitoring of patients in their homes, clinicians can more efficiently track adherence to prescribed medication and response to treatment. This steady stream of insight supplements in-person visits, enabling more timely and accurate assessments of both drug and digital therapeutics treatments based on cognitive functioning.
"The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the urgent need for effective remote care models for seniors living in the community with neurodegenerative diseases," said Professor Murali Doraiswamy, MBBS, FRCP, a leading dementia researcher and a co-founding scientific advisor at Neuroglee. "Neuroglee's digital therapeutics platform aims to set the benchmark for a new era of personalized, high-quality, integrative care for people with dementia and those at risk."
Neuroglee Therapeutics discovers, develops and commercializes software as medical treatment for patients with neurodegenerative diseases. The company's digital therapeutics and monitoring tools help preserve cognition and independence while providing more accurate and consistent insight into drug efficacy, facilitating accelerated drug development. The company's personalized Cognitive Intervention Platform uses cognitive and neurobehavioral mechanisms to monitor and engage users intensively, intelligently and individually. Neuroglee's lead product, NG-001, is prescription digital therapeutics software intended for the treatment of early-stage Alzheimer's disease that can be used independently or in conjunction with pharmacotherapy.