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Brainstorm Health: Addiction Treatment App, Moderna Heart Drug, Organ Transplants

Greetings, readers! This is Sy.

In a milestone, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on Thursday green lit the first-ever mobile medical app to help treat people with substance use disorders (SUDs). The Reset device is designed by Pear Therapeutics and now cleared to assist in outpatient therapy for alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulant addiction—although it is notably not permitted for treating opioid dependence.

So just how does an app assist in addiction therapy? The Reset device has both a patient and clinician element to it, and it provides a form of treatment called cognitive behavioral therapy. That might mean helping SUD patients learn practical skills to help keep them abstain from the drugs they’re abusing and stay with their rehab programs. It’s not a standalone treatment, though—it’s supposed to be used alongside outpatient addiction therapy and an incentive-based system which rewards patients for staying clean and adhering to recommended treatment.

Clinical studies underscored the digital health technology’s promise. More than 40% of patients who used the Reset system in addition to standard therapy abstained from alcohol, cocaine, marijuana, and stimulant substance abuse over a three month period, compared with 17.6% abstinence for those receiving standard therapy alone, according to the FDA.

A growing number of digital health firms and biopharma giants are embracing the idea of using mobile apps as medical add-ons to bolster conventional drugs—or even replace them altogether.

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Trump administration bans federal agencies from using Russian-owned Kapersky software. The Trump administration is slamming the brakes on federal agencies that use Kapersky cybersecurity software over concerns about “the ties between certain Kaspersky officials and Russian intelligence and other government agencies.” The 90-day phaseout of Kapersky products could affect the Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. hospitals. (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

A new type of heart drug from Moderna and AstraZeneca makes a promising first step. Biotech Moderna Therapeutics and U.K. partner AstraZeneca hit the main goal in an early stage clinical trial of their experimental heart drug mRNA AZD-8601, part of a new class of therapies that use messenger RNA (mRNA) as medicines. Companies in this space hope the technology could one day be used to treat disease like cancer, infections, and many others. (Reuters)

…and a whole lot more drug news. There is a whole lot of clinical trial and drug approval news out there today, including promising new late-stage data from Pfizer and Astellas on a blockbuster prostate cancer drug, the FDA’s approval of Amgen’s biosimilar copycat of Roche’s best-selling cancer medicine Avastin, and a type 1 diabetes study for AstraZeneca’s Farxiga.

THE BIG PICTURE

What it would cost to transplant each organ in the body. My colleagues Anne VanderMey and Nicolas Rapp have a fascinating graphic detailing how much it would cost to transplant every organ in the human body (based on data from consulting firm Milliman). Check out the most expensive organs here. (Fortune)

REQUIRED READING

Verizon Doesn’t Want to Buy Any More Cable Companiesby Reuters

Millionaire Welcomes 70 Irma-Displaced Foster Kids to His $30 Million Homeby Chris Morris

Ford CEO Looks to Silicon Valleyby Adam Lashinsky

Why Big Food Is Having a Mass CEO Exodusby Beth Kowitt

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

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