Digital-Pharma Partnerships

Top Three Reasons Your Digital Health Startup Should Talk to Pharma

Post by
Yan Chow, MD MBA

Are you a digital health startup? The digital health industry is buzzing with dozens of new entrants and enjoying a significant increase in year-over-year venture investment in 2021. The urgent need for alternative care delivery mechanisms during the pandemic may have stimulated demand for digital health solutions like telemedicine and remote patient monitoring.In contrast, in the pharmaceutical industry, digital health remains greenfield territory. Why? Unfamiliarity, regulatory uncertainty, perceived risk, and cultural barriers are some of the reasons. But where others see obstacles, you may find opportunity. Here are the top three reasons you should consider pharma as a potential market.


The pharma industry is relatively well resourced. More so than healthcare systems, pharma companies with their research orientation have the resources and mindset to invest in useful new technologies. These are typically strategic investments, so if your startup aligns well with a pharma company’s objectives or long-range strategy, funding could be made available.


The current regulatory emphasis on incorporating real-world data into the drug development process is driving collection and analysis of data from wearable and IoT sensors in real-world settings. In addition, social determinants of health (SDOH) play an outsized role in the outcomes of medical interventions like drug therapy. SDOH includes income and educational levels, residential neighborhood, access to care, and so on. Digital health technology can help to fill this need.

Market Competition

As the pharma industry seeks to differentiate its products from similar offerings, digital health has become a key component of competitive strategy. Digital health can play two roles, either as a companion digital therapeutic or as a patient-facing adjunct that improves medication compliance, tracks adverse events, and facilitates convenient refills.

You may be thinking you don’t have the expertise to approach pharma. There’s now a solution: PharmStars, a new type of accelerator focused on digital health startups who want to work with pharma. Please check it out – it might be what you need.

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