Biogen, Happify Health team up to move the needle on mental health therapies for MS patients

The news: Biogen is teaming up with digital therapeutics entrant Happify Health on an AI-powered digital solution that supports the mental well-being of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients.

Key details: Happify Health’s digital tool configured for MS (Kopa) gives members access to mental health services, neurology providers, dietitians, and rehabilitation professionals.

  • The tool uses AI to personalize content to patients' life stages and symptoms.
  • MS patients can ask experts questions and also discuss their challenges with MS patients in similar stages.
  • For its part, Biogen will add new educational content and resources to support Happify’s platform.

Happify Health’s pharma streak:

  • In 2019, Happify inked a partnership with Sanofi to develop an app to improve mental health in MS patients.
  • And earlier this month, Happify and Barcelona-based pharma company Almirall launched their DTx solution for psoriasis patients, Claro, in select European countries.
  • With a name like Biogen on its partnership roster, Happify could secure more B2B partnerships. Especially since the biotech giant has years of experience in specializing treatment for neurological diseases.

The bigger picture: Doctors are warming up to DTx. That could be a bright spot for chronic disease patients suffering from anxiety and depression.

  • Most physicians (50%) are “extremely likely” or “somewhat likely” (45%) to prescribe prescription digital therapies to their patients, per a February 2022 Cowen & Company survey of 200 US physicians.
  • That’s because physicians say many DTx solutions like Happify Health and Pear Therapeutics are low-risk (60%) and can augment existing treatment (76%), per Cowen & Company.

Some patients could use DTx tools to manage their mental health conditions without risking major side effects that come with traditional meds. That’s important for health outcomes, because depression is one of the most common symptoms of MS. In fact, risk of suicide in MS patients is twice as high, per Mental Health America.