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With high-minded ambitions to revolutionize health care with the help of software, digital therapeutics companies are finding themselves in cahoots with some of the industry’s largest and most-traditional players: pharmaceutical giants.

Digital therapeutics developers and pharma companies would seem to be natural partners. Many digital therapeutics companies are hoping to find their way to the patient populations that pharma companies have been targeting for years. Many digital therapeutics, meanwhile, are designed to work in tandem with medication, and in some cases aim to boost adherence among patients.


But pharma’s early efforts to work with digital health companies got off to a rocky start. Novartis and Pear scrapped a large deal to commercialize Pear’s apps to treat opioid use disorder and substance use disorder. And in perhaps the most high-profile failure, Proteus Digital Health declared bankruptcy after a deal to work with Otsuka on its digital pill technology fell apart.

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