February 8, 2019
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Osaka, Japan; Representative Director, President and CEO: Hiroshi Nomura; hereinafter called “Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma”) and Aikomi, Ltd. (Head Office: Fujisawa, Kanagawa Pref., Japan; Representative Director, President and CEO: Dr. Nick Hird; hereinafter called “Aikomi”) announced today the two companies have concluded a joint research agreement, aiming at developing medical devices to relieve behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) - an area of great unmet medical need - while also examining its business feasibility.
Depending on individuals, the expression of BPSD varies widely and typically includes agitation, anxiety, aggression, depression, apathy, delusions, and hallucinations. The first-line therapy for BPSD performed today consists of non-pharmacological therapies, such as exercise, environmental adjustment and psychosocial interventions including reminiscence therapy and music therapy with caregivers and families. Unfortunately, the effect of current therapies remains limited and there is a strong need to develop more effective and practical non-pharmacological therapies that can be widely adopted into routine dementia care practice.
By utilizing digital devices to provide sensory stimulations such as visual, auditory, and olfactory, Aikomi has worked to develop a proprietary technology platform designed to relieve BPSD and evaluated its basic effectiveness. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma regards healthcare areas other than pharmaceuticals as “Frontier Areas,” aiming to develop new business opportunities.
Under the terms of the agreement, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi will conduct a 1-year joint research program in which they will work primarily to develop machine learning functions to provide individual patients with sensory stimulations personalized to their characteristics and symptoms, using digital devices. Based on the results of this joint research, the two companies will determine whether to proceed to a further joint development agreement.
Through this joint research, Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi intend to develop innovative solutions and deliver them to people with dementia, not only to help them live more independent and higher quality lives but also to reduce the burden placed on their families and caregivers. Thus, the two companies look forward to contributing to help people with dementia and those involved in care for them to live happier and more fulfilling lives.
Symptoms of dementia are divided into two groups: one is core symptoms that appear as cognitive impairment and impaired judgment, and the other is behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia (BPSD) that include agitation, anxiety, aggression, depression, apathy, delusions, and hallucinations. Experiencing BPSD lowers the patients’ quality of life and simultaneously imposes a great burden on their caregivers and healthcare professionals. According to the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare, the number of patients with dementia in Japanese people aged 65 years or older in 2012 was 4.62 million, and that in 2025 is estimated to exceed 7 million.
About Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma defines its corporate mission as "to broadly contribute to society through value creation based on innovative research and development activities for the betterment of healthcare and fuller lives of people worldwide". By pouring all our efforts into the research and development of new drugs, we aim to realize our corporate mission and provide innovative and effective pharmaceutical solutions to people not only in Japan but also around the world. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma's goal is to create innovative pharmaceutical products in the focus research areas of Psychiatry & Neurology, Oncology and Regenerative Medicine/Cell Therapy.
Aikomi is a digital health technology company co-founded in 2018 by Dr. Nick Hird and Junichi Kato, former pharmaceutical company researchers, who are aiming to create and deliver sustainable dementia solutions. The company is engaged in the development of an evidence-based technology platform, in collaboration with a multi-disciplinary partner ecosystem of experts and companies, to realize person-centered care in dementia through the promotion of engagement and communication with people suffering from dementia.
Aikomi website: https://www.aikomi.co.jp/
Frontier Business Office
Sumitomo Pharma Co., Ltd.
13-1, Kyobashi 1-chome, Chuo-ku,
Tokyo 104-8356, Japan
Frontier Business Office
Sumitomo Pharma America Holdings, Inc.