[Photo by Anthony Tran on Unsplash]

Endometriosis, a reproductive health condition affecting roughly 11% of adult women and teenagers in the United States, causes debilitating pain symptoms. A new partnership between Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd. of Japan, and Boston-based, digital therapeutics company Biofourmis will focus on facilitating objective assessment of endometriosis pain levels using digital technology.

Endometriosis involves abnormal growth of the uterine lining, or endometrium, outside of the uterus. This abnormal tissue usually grows on the ovaries and other structures in the pelvic cavity, although in rare cases, it can affect other organs. The primary symptom of endometriosis is pain, which may shift from mild to severe throughout a woman’s menstrual cycle. It ranges from intense menstrual cramps to persistent pain in the pelvis, abdomen, lower back, or bowels. Endometriosis pain can interfere with daily activities, cause fertility issues, and degrade a woman’s quality of life. Yet women frequently struggle when describing their symptoms to health care providers because of the highly subjective nature of pain, especially pain that continually changes.

The new partnership will develop new technology using Biofourmis’ existing Biovitals platform. This platform provides health care teams with real-time physiological patient monitoring while using data science to predict disease trajectory in individuals to improve treatment outcomes and prevent adverse events. To objectively assess endometriosis pain, the team intends to create novel technology that combines a wearable, clinical-grade biosensor that communicates with a mobile app through which patients provide information about their pain symptoms. The app includes gamification technology to enhance patient engagement.

By processing individual biometrics using AI-based analytics, the new tool will provide continuous quantification of pain. Clinicians can review patient data and predictions through a web-based dashboard, enabling them to make adjustments in treatment or provide urgent medical intervention.

Following the development phase, Chugai and Biofourmis plan to validate the new technology through an international, multi-institutional study involving more than 120 endometriosis patients.