Wake Forest Innovations, the commercialization arm of Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, today announced a licensing agreement with one of its newest startup companies, Causa Research, at the 12th-annual Tech Briefing hosted by the Tech Council of the Winston-Salem Chamber of Commerce.
Founded by leading adherence researcher and Wake Forest Baptist dermatologist Steven Feldman, M.D., Ph.D., Causa Research harnesses powerful motivators to help patients take their medications as directed.
“Rapid advances are being made in the medical treatment of chronic and acute health problems including skin diseases, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol and HIV infection,” Feldman said. “However, patients only benefit from those medical advances if they take their medications.”
Medication non-adherence includes failing to fill prescriptions, cutting dosages, reducing the frequency of administration and early discontinuation of treatment. Non-adherence also may lead to complications that decrease patients’ quality of life, require costly hospitalization or readmission, and, in some cases, increase the risk of death.
Feldman spent the greater part of the last decade dealing with poor adherence in his clinical practice and researching medication adherence in clinical studies. His research team used electronic monitors on medication bottles to measure how well patients adhered to their treatment regimen. Data from initial studies showed that patient adherence quickly fell to 30 percent in some conditions.
After developing and testing multiple strategies in his clinical practice, Feldman and his team began translating them to the research setting. A simple solution to the complex adherence problem—online surveys—proved effective.
“When we regularly administered an online survey to our patients that was designed to make them feel cared for and supervised, their adherence skyrocketed,” he said. “We were able to often double adherence by utilizing this outreach method.”
Feldman and his team are currently testing this uniquely effective intervention in patients with high cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes and depression at Wake Forest pharmacies.
Recognizing the value of improved adherence to many stakeholders, Wake Forest created Causa Research to commercialize this adherence promoting technology.
“We are pleased to announce this exclusive license agreement with Causa Research. This is another excellent example of our innovative technologies being commercialized,” said Eric Tomlinson D.Sc., Ph.D., chief innovation officer at Wake Forest Baptist. “Causa Research’s technology has the potential to transform not only the lives of patients across the world, but also reduce health care costs.”
Causa CEO Robert Anderson is utilizing Feldman’s research and is in conversations with health care systems, pharmaceutical companies, pharmacies and insurance providers to use Causa Research’s patent-pending survey to help increase adherence to medications, resulting in healthier lives for patients and lower costs for health care providers.