LEO Innovation Lab is a Triple Finalist at the Eyeforpharma Awards

The eyeforpharma awards celebrate the success and innovation within pharma to generate value for patients. LEO Innovation Lab is a finalist for our continued efforts to make an impact for healthcare with digital technology.  

The mounting pressure on health systems worldwide is calling for new methods to take on global healthcare challenges. Chronic diseases are on the rise, access to adequate, long-term clinical support is waning, and the World Health Organisation estimates a global shortage of 13 million healthcare workers by 2035.

Meanwhile, new technologies are emerging to revolutionise the pharma industry with innovative ways of treating patients, managing diseases, and conducting clinical trials. LEO Innovation Lab is a finalist at the eyeforpharma awards in three different categories for our role in addressing global healthcare challenges with our digital platforms Imagine and Studies&Me. 


Breakthrough in AI and dermatology

Artificial intelligence is changing the fabric of healthcare. From contributing to more accurate diagnoses to increasing access to healthcare through digital platforms, the potential for change is significant. With the unprecedented growth in health data, organisations are increasingly employing new digital tools for more individualised insights and care. 

At LEO Innovation Lab, we want to make personalised, state of the art care available to anyone with a smartphone. For this reason, we are a finalist in Most Valuable Breakthrough/Discovery at the eyeforpharma awards. The category honours initiatives that show disruptive potential to provide significant impact and value for patients, caregivers, or health professionals. The criteria state that the winner will be a genuine pioneer, bringing something novel and meaningful to the life sciences industry.

We were nominated for the Imagine platform, which was launched in 2017. Available for free, it is designed to help people manage their skin condition. By taking photos with their smartphones, users can track changes in their skin, identify triggers, assess the efficacy of treatments, and bridge the gap between consultations with quality imaging and documentation for both the patient and doctor.

Imagine has more than 210,000 unique app installs and active users across 66 countries. The successful, global patient uptake of Imagine has facilitated our exploration into AI-powered skin diagnosis. We are building an algorithmic model capable of identifying skin conditions from smartphone images. This is an unexplored area in academia, with most research focusing on leveraging artificial intelligence to identify skin lesions as benign or malignant skin cancers. When marketed, this technology has the potential to augment the decision making of doctors and alleviate the strain of chronic skin conditions on the public healthcare infrastructure. 

Our model already shows promising results. We currently identify psoriasis with an accuracy of 91%, and atopic dermatitis with an 86% accuracy. This is only the beginning. Ultimately, our breakthrough in healthcare is to provide expert-level dermatological disease management plans for everyone regardless of location and income. 


The future of healthcare is data-driven

Imagine is also a finalist in Most Valuable Data & Insights Initiative, which recognises initiatives that harnesses data, artificial intelligence, machine learning or analytics to reveal valuable insights, ultimately resulting in new opportunities for better patient care.

In our work to create visibility on pain points experienced by patients or doctors within the ecosystem of chronic skin diseases, inaccurate diagnosis and limited patient-doctor interactions have been identified as prevailing drivers of low health outcomes for people with skin diseases. Recent data shows that general practitioners misdiagnose skin conditions in up to 50% of the cases causing patients to struggle with suboptimal treatment recommendations.

The extensive usage of Imagine across 66 countries has made it possible for us to address this issue by combining artificial intelligence with chronic skin conditions. The essential ingredient in developing a successful algorithmic model is a robust amount of diverse, quality data. Imagine provides us with a source of imaging data, facilitated by a computer vision assisted capture feature in the app that helps users take well-aligned, quality photos. We are also working with a panel 15 dermatologist to label the images in the endeavour to develop an algorithm that can identify any skin condition from a smartphone image at the same level as an experienced specialist. 

Furthermore, the global patient uptake of Imagine has provided us with thousands of images representing diverse skin types. This will enable us to maintain an inclusive design and build a solution that is applicable worldwide and works for everyone regardless of skin colour.

With this technology, we aspire to set new and higher standards for dermatological care, and empower patients to take back control of their disease. When our diagnosis platform becomes publicly available, it can augment the diagnostic accuracy of doctors, ensuring patients can find the optimal treatment plan faster than ever before. By introducing digital interactions and AI-assisted data aggregation, we hope also to free up more of the doctor’s time to focus on a more effective interaction with the patient. 


Democratising access to clinical trials 

Clinical trials are a prerequisite for bringing new treatments to market but one of the major challenges is recruiting patients. LEO Innovation Lab is a finalist in the Most Valuable Clinical/Access Initiative category for our efforts to optimise the recruitment process with the platform Studies&Me. 

The category honours initiatives that have altered the traditional clinical development or market access pathway, ultimately finding ways for innovative treatments to reach patients more quickly and effectively, without compromising on quality and compliance.

The Studies&Me platform is designed to improve time-to-market for new treatments by expanding the reach of patient recruitment for clinical trials, and optimising patient qualification. With the traditional approach to patient recruitment, only a small fraction of eligible candidates are aware of trial participation opportunities. Employing digital channels enables us to engage a much broader range of patients at a global scale. 

Qualification of patients is also optimised through custom questionnaires, email engagement, and image analysis. We are working with a panel of licensed dermatologists to pre-screen patients based on images of their skin through a store-and-forward teledermatology model. These elements combine to form a seamless experience for patients, increasing the likelihood of patient retention.

Our vision is to democratise clinical trials by making them available to all individuals that could benefit from participating. A recent analysis of our patient population within the platform confirmed that we are making progress towards this vision. By comparing the zip codes of patients to the average household income of those areas, we observed a normal distribution, showing that our population represents individuals from a diverse range of socioeconomic backgrounds.

Furthermore, we believe Studies&Me can enable pharma companies to develop more effective treatments for patients. By ensuring that a more diverse population can be recruited into trials, we can build a test environment that is more reflective of the patient population. Through this process, we hope to build a future where treatment can be developed based on a more heterogeneous data set, and therefore work more effectively for a broader range of patients.


Eyeforpharma awards

Eyeforpharma provides a hub for senior-level pharma executives, patient advocacy groups and other health experts to exchange ideas and stay up-to-date with shifting trends and practices. The awards recognise genuine, truly innovative and meaningful approaches to excellence in the pharma area to make a positive impact on patients’ lives. 

With 13 categories, the awards received 600 submissions. Winners will be announced in Philadelphia on 11 December.