Blue Note Therapeutics: Better Care for Cancer Patients
Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDT) for cancer-related distress
Nearly 5,200 Americans a day are diagnosed with the terrifying and painful disease that is cancer. Not only does cancer diagnosis and treatment cause physical discomfort, but also significant mental and emotional distress such as anxiety and depression. This distress decreases patients’ quality of life, adversely impacts their health outcomes, and increases healthcare utilization and costs.
Dedicated to serving patients suffering from cancer-related distress, Alumni Ventures portfolio company Blue Note Therapeutics is on a mission to ease the burdens of cancer through Prescription Digital Therapeutics (PDT). The company’s software is designed to improve outcomes through decreased psychological distress, strengthened immune function, and improved treatment adherence.
Treating the Mind
In addition to there being more than 100 types of cancer in the world, each case is uniquely difficult and each patient’s needs and responses are different. Blue Note digitizes clinically proven, cancer-specific, face-to-face interventions from top cancer centers to create therapeutic software that helps ease the anxiety that comes with diagnosis. With Blue Note’s product, patients learn, practice, and master the skills they would have developed during in-person sessions, thereby reducing their psychological distress and improving health outcomes.
For cancer centers with dedicated mental health resources, Blue Note’s products help patients receive care while on waiting lists, between treatment visits, and during transitions out of the cancer center. In community clinics without a psychosocial staff, oncology care teams can provide Blue Note’s products to patients experiencing psychological distress via a prescription. Patients will receive a download link and code from a specialty or digital pharmacy and run the product on their device as a part of their total medical treatment regimen. In addition, health insurance plans will cover these products as a medical benefit associated with the patient’s cancer diagnosis.
What We Liked About Blue Note
Impressive Early Traction: Signaling Blue Note’s potential efficacy, the FDA granted Blue Note Breakthrough Device Designation in June 2020. Manufacturers receiving this designation are eligible for prioritized review of their FDA submission. Blue Note has also entered into exclusive licensing agreements with renowned cancer centers and universities — including Massachusetts General Hospital, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and the University of Miami.
Significant Moats: Blue Note established itself early on as the first PDT focused on cancer-related distress and is already planning clinical trials. Further, they have built a strong patent portfolio and have exclusive licenses to create PDT versions of clinically validated, cancer-specific, face-to-face interventions, with results published in peer-reviewed journals.
Experienced, Cohesive Team: The Blue Note leadership team has strong biotech and psycho-oncology experience. In addition, five of the seven members of Blue Note’s leadership team previously worked together at Amgen, one of the world’s largest independent biotech companies.
Substantial Market Opportunity: PDT is a relatively new therapeutic class projected to be a $56B global opportunity by 2025.
Expert Lead Investor and How We Are Involved
Blue Note is backed by JAZZ Venture Partners, an established VC with deep PDT expertise. JAZZ has invested in three companies in the space that received FDA approval and has strong conviction in Blue Note’s solution, which lead partner John Harris calls “the best application of PDT we’ve seen.”
Green D Ventures (Alumni Ventures fund for the Dartmouth community) and sibling funds deployed capital in Blue Note’s $31 million Series A led by JAZZ. Alumni Ventures’ investment was partially funded via a Syndication.
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