Meeting unmet needs in epilepsy management through digital health technological solutions
Posted byCynthia Dilley, Global Epilepsy Strategy
Over the last decade, we have seen significant progress in the development of anti-seizure medications (ASMs), and there are now over a dozen options available for people living with epilepsy. While we have seen advances in epileptic seizure control, there is still a lot more that can be done to help address unmet needs in epilepsy management for both patients and healthcare professionals (HCPs).
As a pharmaceutical company with a significant heritage in epilepsy, we can leverage our leadership to utilize the resources we have available to equip epilepsy community with the tools to address these challenges. In addition to our extensive research and development capabilities, new health technological solutions can provide much needed support to optimize a patient’s journey. Leveraging digital health technology throughout UCB will allow us to continue to adapt, innovate and address specific unmet needs for people living with epilepsy, such as seizure prediction and coordination of care. Our leadership in epilepsy will remain cemented ensuring we continue to enjoy the competitive advantage gained in areas such as in development collaborations, inorganic opportunities and commercial endeavors.
Seizures, especially focal seizures remain difficult to track and record. Sometimes patients are not sure if they are actual seizures and at other times, they may have mental capability challenges which impede memory. This can make it difficult for HCPs to ascertain a patient’s progress and ensure the right treatment protocol. Our relationship with Byteflies is an exciting opportunity to alleviate this pain-point by providing a discreet wearable electroencephalogram device which enables detection of focal seizures. It’s a differentiated and highly valuable need for patients and HCPs to address concerns and ensure optimized treatment.
The unpredictable nature of epilepsy means that many people living with the disorder remain uncertain of when they will experience their next seizure. This can lead to a significant impact on a person’s quality of life and result in anxiety associated with the fear of experiencing another seizure. This issue could be addressed by simply providing patients with a warning. We continue to focus on seizure prediction as a key to unlock one of the biggest keys in epilepsy: knowing when a seizure is coming and potentially giving enough window to stop the seizure onset. We have partnered externally to begin developing a multimodal seizure prediction system while remaining vigilant for other opportunities in this developing landscape.
In addition to this unpredictability of seizures, there is also inherent unpredictability of treatment as ASMs don’t work universally. Many patients with epilepsy live with a level of uncertainty of whether they are on the right management plan. A recent publication demonstrated the importance of combining machine learning-based data to predict the clinical drug response, suggesting that artificial intelligence can act as a signpost for precision medicine. By partnering on digital solutions to coordination of care, we can begin to streamline the epilepsy management process.
UCB’s recent investment in Nile AI, provides a personalized management platform, allowing patients to coordinate their regimen and track their progress. By pulling together the available data, it is our ambition to make the epilepsy journey more predictable. In addition to this, UCB has invested in prediction analytics to help patients to determine if they are likely to be resistant to treatment which can help to create a more efficient management pathway much earlier.
At UCB, we are driven to improve the lives of people living with epilepsy. The epilepsy community is at the forefront of everything we do, and our commitment has never been stronger. Utilizing our experience and expertise, combined with the development of health technology support solutions, we’re excited to fuel the future of epilepsy and provide solutions that people living with epilepsy desperately need.