Interview with Vincent Hennemand, Akili Interactive Labs

What is your elevator pitch?

It is a privilege to be at the dawn of an emerging industry segment within the healthcare sector. Digital Therapeutics will deeply transform the way we think about chronic and acute disease management in the decades to come. This new industry will naturally complement the assets and know-how from the pharmaceutical, medical technologies and SaaS industries, but it will also have its own capabilities: attributes that will keep it differentiated from all the other life science industry segments.

Reinventing medicine sounds like quite a challenge. How are you doing that?

Akili Interactive is committed to developing a novel class of therapeutics, leveraging the power of Digital Technologies while developing them with the same rigor and regulatory compliance as drugs or other medical devices currently on the market. Bringing these effective and safe therapeutic modalities to patients and their physicians with a similar level of clinical validation and scientific credentialing will open new modalities in the therapeutic arsenal of caregivers. This is not the future but is currently happening. It opens new perspectives and options to manage the required revolution of our healthcare paradigms.

What will be your main message from the stage that you hope listeners will take home with them?

Digital Therapeutic products are now a reality that we should all be aware of as they get more widely prescribed and distributed on the market across multiple fields.

What of that can be achieved/managed in 2019?

Several Digital Therapeutic products have already obtained approval in 2017 and 2018, and others will get to that stage in 2019 and beyond. Most of the pioneering companies are actively working in collaboration with payers. Akili is part of that effort and keeps raising the bar to obtain the full recognition of the value of our products.

In the tech sector we are talking a lot about AI at the moment. What is your take on its role in healthcare?

AI is already providing breakthrough approaches to novel ways to diagnose or stratify patient populations. I believe that this is only the beginning of the story. However, health agencies will keep challenging us with the question of “outsourcing a medical decision to a machine” which is intrinsically what AI offers. Health Authorities have not provided guidelines about proving the equivalence of treatments that are powered by AI technologies. Considering that certain patients could be treated very differently within a relatively homogenous population, we will have to radically change our approach of pre-specified analysis of clinical trials and maybe the way we are thinking about clinical development.

The interview has been originally published on the special issue of CoFounder.