A Palantir SPAC Wants You To Go To Sleep
Pear Therapeutics, one of Palantir's SPAC investments, recently announced data from two studies evaluating prescription digital therapeutics (PDTs) for chronic insomnia. This was presented at World Sleep Congress 2022.
As per their website, "Pear Therapeutics discovers, develops, and delivers clinically-validated software-based therapeutics to provide better outcomes for patients, smarter engagement and tracking tools for clinicians, and cost-effective solutions for payers."
Their moat is in creating software that can lead to breakthroughs within various types of treatments used to alleviate or prevent certain diseases through developing and commercializing software-based medicines.
On March 15th, 2022 - they announced data that further showed the value of their flagship drug, Somryst®, the only FDA-authorized PDT for the treatment of chronic insomnia. You an see the full press release here.
“Today, many people face barriers to accessing care so the opportunity to provide patients with 24/7 virtual access to proven treatment options is more important than ever,” said Yuri Maricich, M.D., Chief Medical Officer & Head of Development at Pear Therapeutics. "It’s critical to examine the impact of prescription digital therapeutics among people with chronic insomnia, particularly given the toll lack of sleep can take on day-to-day activities and overall quality of life, including leading to depression, suicidality, hypertension and even heart attacks.”
The study conducted was called DREAM - it was a remote, virtual, open--label decentralized trial primarily evaluating Somryst.
991 patients had enrolled to date. In 779 patients who had gone through the entire treatment, the population was able to see statistically significant and meaningful reductions in insomnia severity, also known as ISI.
They also saw reductions in sleep onset latency (SOL) and wake-after-sleep onset (WASO). Within 193 patents who completed the 6 months follow-up treatments, they also maintained improvements within ISI, SOL, and WASO throughout the 6 months after the treatment.
“The ability to capture real-world data in a fully remote setting due to the COVID-19 pandemic allowed us to really understand the value that access to remote treatment options have in successfully treating chronic insomnia,” said Charles M. Morin, Ph.D., Professor, Laval University, and Director, Centre d'étude des troubles du sommeil in Québec, Canada. “These results demonstrate that cognitive behavioral therapy, the recommended first line treatment of care for chronic insomnia, can be effectively delivered through a PDT like Somryst, helping patients treat their chronic insomnia.”
Another study was conducted in older adults (55+) and also saw significant reductions in ISI scores. You can see the full results and study here.
What is Somryst?
Somryst is the only FDA-authorized therapeutic that delivers guideline recommended first-line treatment for chronic insomnia. Somryst is a 9-week prescription digital therapeutic (PDT) that addresses the underlying issues of chronic insomnia by delivering cognitive behavioral therapy for insomnia (CBTi), an evidence-based approach that trains the brain and body to sleep. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine and the American College of Physicians clinical guidelines recommend CBTi as first-line treatment for people with chronic insomnia.3,4 Somryst is used on a mobile device, such as a smartphone or tablet and is available by prescription only. A licensed Health Care Provider (HCP) must prescribe Somryst and use of Somryst should be undertaken only under the supervised care of an HCP.
Insomnia is one of those parts of life that many human beings struggle with for a variety of reasons. Common causes can include stress, an irregular sleep schedule, poor sleeping habits, mental health disorders like anxiety and depression, physical illnesses and pain, medications, neurological problems, and specific sleep disorders.
If Pear Therapeutics can actually put a meaningful dent into chronic insomnia, it would not only help millions of people, but it would also open them up to massive market opportunity.
Traditional melatonin solutions don't help those with chronic insomnia, so more intense drugs are needed to actually allow people to sleep.
How Does This Affect Palantir?
Palantir's SPAC hypothesis will only be proven true if the companies they are investing in succeed. Drug results like the ones shown above offer more assurance that the SPACs they invested in are making progress and foundry as the foundation for those SPACs may be producing meaningful results.
One of the tricky elements to Palantir's investment in Pear is that drug results are the basis for success within the company. If the company has bad or subpar results, the drugs simply will not be sold since they wont be approved by the FDA until new tests are done to show the drugs actually are effective.
It becomes binary with these companies - either the drugs work or they don't. What Palantir has likely done to mitigate some of this risk is:
Heavy due diligence on if the drugs had potential before investing in the company
Recognized that Pear was using software and data to power their R&D, leading to a higher chance of outcomes over other companies not data
A solid understanding of how Palantir's foundry would accelerate the ability for Pear to create drugs that did have a chance of working
Congrats to Pear Therapeutics on positive results - if they can solve insomnia it would be great for the market they are going after, millions of people who desperately need a solution, and Palantir for being the software that powers their drug discovery efforts.