The Sidebar looks back at an eventful 2019, where SidekickHealth gained recognition as a leader in digital therapeutics (DTx) and landed landmark deals with pharma majors.
2019 proved to be an important year for Sidekick, after its clinically validated gamified DTx platform was rated in the top 0.1% for quality by the industry’s leading rating company, Orcha.
Recognition came from other quarters too – Sidekick was selected out of over 850 applicants in Silicon Valley’s Plug & Play Health business accelerator, winning first prize at the 2019 Winter Summit in Sunnyvale.
Image: Our Chief Medical Officer and co-founder Dr. Sam Oddsson at the award ceremony in Sunnyvale.
Sidekick was also among the ten winners of the 2019 EIT Digital Challenge, operated by Europe’s leading digital innovation organization.
This followed on from Sidekick’s selection to join the Health Hub Vienna accelerator in April. Sidekick was one of ten companies from nine countries to join the scheme, which aims to transform healthcare through innovation and entrepreneurship.
Image: Sidekick’s Chief Executive Officer and co-founder Dr. Tryggvi Thorgeirsson at the EIT Digital Challenge in Brussels.
Sidekick joins forces with Pfizer on smoking cessation tool
There were also other important developments as Sidekick forged relationships with key players in healthcare.
Sidekick’s clinically validated digital platform has a proven history in helping people modify their behavior, increase medical adherence and better manage chronic illnesses and symptoms.
With the support of Pfizer Austria, Sidekick has been able to expand its platform based around gamified DTx solutions, to include a new smoking cessation module.
The companies announced their new collaboration in October, which will provide those who want to stop smoking with professional help, backed by Sidekick’s behavioral modification platform.
Partnership with Bayer in PAD
Sidekick followed this with a collaboration with Bayer in peripheral arterial disease (PAD), a chronic illness caused by reduced blood flow to the limbs that reduces quality of life.
Symptoms include muscle pain and cramping in the legs and arms, and a lack of support for people with the condition exposes them to acute and even fatal cardiovascular events.
Sidekick and Bayer have agreed to launch the program in Sweden, which aims to help those with PAD to modify their behavior, stick to their medicine regimens and generally manage their symptoms.
The two companies aim to launch the program in other European markets, after collaborating with key opinion leaders and clinical experts in PAD, such as the president of the Swedish Society of Vascular Surgery Dr Carl Wahlgren.
Taking control of health
Sidekick’s co-founder and chief executive Tryggvi Thorgeirsson finished the year by outlining his vision for the future of chronic disease management in an interview with Tobias Silberzahn, a partner at McKinsey & Company.
In the article published on LinkedIn and the Financial Times-backed innovation platform Sifted, Thorgeirsson said that Sidekick was founded because of his frustrations having treated tens of thousands of patients with lifestyle-related diseases as a medical doctor.
This inspired a decision to enroll at the Harvard School of Public Health, which has led him to see DTx as a way of empowering patients and encouraging them to take control of their own health.
Sidekick aims to deliver “targeted behavioral nudges” to help patients live healthier lives and adhere to medication regimens, at a time when the NHS in England and Germany’s health insurance system are hoping to encourage wider use of DTx solutions.
“Digital health solutions are extremely well positioned to do this, especially since smart phone adoption continues to rise, providing the necessary reach to have a real impact,” Thorgeirsson concluded.