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New Company by Otsuka Challenges Decline in Digital Health Sector


Otsuka America, a division of the Japanese pharmaceutical and device manufacturer, established a new business centered on digital health. The company, Otsuka Precision Health, plans to launch a prescription digital therapy for major depressive disorder as its first offering this summer.

Sanket Shah, an Otsuka employee of over 14 years, will serve as the company’s CEO. It has been a difficult year for companies in the digital health space. According to the sources, funding for digital health firms has reached its lowest point since 2019. Including telehealth startup Babylon Health and pioneer in digital pharmaceuticals Pear Pharmaceuticals.

Shah stated that he intends to adopt a long-term strategy with the new business and that he still sees value in integrating digital technologies to offer comprehensive support. “We’re on a journey. There’s no playbook out there.”

According to him, other big and medium-sized pharmaceutical companies are making investments in data and technology. He sees the next stage of the industry’s development as being governed by laws and the use of digital health technologies.

Otsuka has prior experience with digital therapies. The business and Proteus Digital Health collaborated to create an Abilify medicine version that includes an embedded sensor that logs when the medication was taken for schizophrenia. 2020 saw Proteus go for bankruptcy and later that year, Otsuka paid $15 million to acquire its assets.

According to Shah, Otsuka Precision Health will prioritize mental health, between Rejoyn and Abilify. However, the business will also consider additional options throughout its portfolio. Regarding digital health more generally, He stated that he aspires to do in the healthcare industry what digital and data have done for other industries. Additionally, he stated that it is important to avoid going back to the previous methods.



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