August 4, 2020
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma Co., Ltd. (Head Office: Osaka, Japan; Representative Director, President and CEO: Hiroshi Nomura; hereinafter, “Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma”), Sompo Japan Insurance Inc. (Head Office: Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; President: Keiji Nishizawa; hereinafter, “Sompo Japan”), and Aikomi Ltd. (Head Office: Yokohama, Kanagawa; Representative Director, President and CEO: Dr. Nick Hird; hereinafter, “Aikomi”) announced today that the three companies have agreed to collaborate on the research and development and commercialization of digital devices to support caring for people with dementia (hereinafter, “Digital Devices”) including both non-medical nursing care applications (non-medical devices) and medical applications.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi signed a joint research agreement in February 2019 to develop next-generation digital medical devices to relieve behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia[*1] (BPSD). Since then they have conducted a research program to investigate technology-enabled psychosocial interventions based on concepts of cognitive stimulation therapy[*2] (CST). Meanwhile, Sompo Japan has been working to identify solutions to some of the major challenges facing people living with dementia, such as early detection of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and prevention of cognitive decline as well as evaluating their practical and business viability in nursing care settings.
Under the terms of the agreement, the three companies will combine their respective expertise and experience to collaborate in the following areas:
- Joint research on Digital Devices for nursing care and medical applications
- Clinical research using Digital Devices for Nursing Care
- Business viability evaluation of Digital Devices for Nursing Care and marketing partnerships
The Digital Devices provide personalized multi-sensory stimulations, such as visual, auditory, and olfactory, that is tailored to the individual lifestory and characteristics of the person and enabled by proprietary artificial intelligence (AI) technology.
The three companies expect that use of these Digital Devices in nursing care settings will facilitate improvements in the mutuality in relationships between users who need nursing care and their caregivers that can lead to improving reduction of the stress and burden experienced by caregivers. Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi additionally plan to develop the Digital Devices as Medical Devices for psychosocial interventions based on concept of CST for BPSD.
Through this partnership, the three companies will contribute to the promotion of digital technology solutions to sustainably address the complex social issues arising from dementia and the super-aging society.
[*1] 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 of Japan, 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.
[*2] A psychosocial intervention that combines multiple non-pharmacological therapies such as reality orientation and reminiscence therapy.
For the joint research agreement between Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi, please see the press release dated February 8, 2019, “Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma and Aikomi Conclude Joint Research Agreement on Medical Devices to relieve Behavioral and Psychological Symptoms of Dementia.”
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.” Along with our partners, by pouring 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. For details, please visit https://www.sumitomo-pharma.com/.
Sumitomo Dainippon Pharma invested approximately 200 million yen in the Pre-Series A funding of Aikomi in July of this year.
About Sompo Japan
In an effort to realize the Brand Slogan of the Sompo Group, “A Theme Park for Security, Health & Wellbeing,” Sompo Japan acts proactively to create businesses that lead to the resolution of social issues through partnerships and personnel exchanges with distinguished research and development institutions and venture businesses, while at the same time working to address the super-aging society and offer solutions to issues in the field of dementia. For details, please visit https://www.sompo-japan.co.jp/english/.
Aikomi is a digital health technology company co-founded in 2018 by former pharmaceutical company researchers Dr. Nick Hird and Junichi Kato, to create sustainable solutions to support person centred care and improve QoL for people with dementia, their families and carers. In collaboration with a cross-disciplinary partnership ecosystem. Aikomi has developed a technology platform for personalized multi-sense cognitive stimulation that can be used by care givers to promote communication and enagement and provide psychological care to people with dementia. The long-term goal of Aikomi is to create the first regulatory approved digital therapy for BPSD.
For details, please visit https://www.aikomi.co.jp/ (Japanese only).
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