Sanofi and Happify Health have announced the signing of an agreement to advance the application of digital therapeutics to address key co-morbidities for individuals living with multiple sclerosis (MS).

The companies say that Happify will develop a version of its digital platform specifically for people with MS, and plan to submit the co-developed digital therapy to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for clearance as a medical device.

Issues in focus include depression and anxiety, as anxiety is estimated to be 20% more prevalent in the MS population than in the general population, and up to half of all people living with MS show signs of depression.

A study, published in the International Journal of Wellbeing, found nearly a 25% reduction in symptoms of anxiety and more than a 25% reduction in symptoms of depression for those using Happify at the recommended level.

"We've been preparing for our entry into prescription digital therapeutics for several years," said Ofer Leidner, co-founder and president of Happify Health. "Our experience as a successful direct-to-consumer application with nearly four million users and our commercial relationships with some of the nation's largest health plans and multinational employers, has allowed us to develop some highly differentiated capabilities.

"These capabilities, along with Sanofi's demonstrated commitment to digital transformation, made for an ideal collaboration rooted in exploring innovative, safe and effective therapies aiming to improve the lives of individuals with MS."

According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society (NMSS), MS affects more than 2.3 million people worldwide and major depressive disorder is estimated to be as much as three times as prevalent in individuals with MS as in the general population.