Akili Interactive goes public in August, bringing in cash that the company will use to launch a digital therapy video game for ADHD kids later this year.
Akili’s product, named EndeavorRx, is prescribing software for children ages 8 to 12 with attention problems. It was received FDA De Novo Certification in 2020 after years of waiting for the agency’s green light, even though a Version not as described has been released after some regulatory requirements were relaxed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Matt Franklin, who joins Akili as President and CEO early this summer, sit down with MobiHealthNews discusses EndeavorRx launch strategy, products under development, and why listing is the best move for the company.
MobiHealthNews: There’s definitely a slowdown when it comes to digital health companies go public this year, compared to 2021. Why do you think this is the best route for Akili?
Matt Franklin: There are two main motivations for us. The first is that this event gives us access to financial resources that will allow us to accelerate the commercial launch of EndeavorRx, to be able to impact more lives in ADHD. But I think second, we’re also thinking about this opportunity in the long term. Access to the public markets over time allows us to access funding and capital to expand our impact beyond ADHD into other areas, such as multiple sclerosis, major depressive disorder, autism spectrum and more acute conditions such as COVID brain fog.
MHN: So you’re planning to use the proceeds to launch EndeavorRx, which received an FDA license a few years ago. What is your strategy to launch it? This is a prescription product, so how will you interact with the suppliers?
Franklin: The first area that we focus on is building execution or delivery infrastructure. This is an app that can be downloaded from the App Store or from Google Play. But we needed to build a custom proprietary delivery system that could validate prescriptions, be able to collect insurance information, collect payments, and actually dispense prescriptions.
I’m happy to say it’s done. We’ve already seen thousands of orders or prescriptions run through that infrastructure. We’ve seen prescriptions come in from all 50 states so far, which has really allowed us to focus on the second phase, which is building our commercial and medical teams to get can engage with health care providers to provide that education, promoting awareness.
Our goal is really to make EndeavorRx part of the routine clinical treatment of ADHD. So that’s where we focus. We rented the first wave of field resources. They will join here in Q4, engage with suppliers, and we will continue to build our national footprint over time.
MHN: Akili also has product in development. How did you choose new clinical areas to expand?
Franklin: EndeavorRx works on cognitive attention function. So we’re really looking at those signs, diseases that are related to attention or inattention. So ADHD, it’s important, right? It is one of the important clinical manifestations. So our short-term focus is on raising awareness and adoption in children with ADHD. We will be looking to extend that to adolescent and adult populations.
In addition, autism spectrum disorders also have a high degree of overlap with problems with cognitive function and attention. So it’s an open area. Multiple sclerosis and major depressive disorder These are the areas that we have studied. And we will continue to do additional validation studies there as well.
MHN: What do you think are the next steps to expanding the use of digital therapy?
Franklin: I think we have a short-term opportunity to educate about the different classes or categories in digital therapy. For example, EndeavorRx fits into this category of digital prescription treatments. It is the prescription drug delivered in this form of enticing entertainment.
Second, we are promoting awareness of our clinical data. One of the things that drew me to Akili was its solid scientific background, but also rigorous clinical evidence. Therefore, there is no widely perceived clinical data to support an approach like EndeavorRx. So we are also actively participating in raising awareness of that strong supporting clinical evidence.