Hephaï appoints Armelle Roussac as head of sales
Appointment reinforces Hephaï’s leadership team as it prepares for CE marking of application and partners with major pharmaceutical groups to make app available for asthma and COPD patients by end of 2022
Paris, France, June 13, 2022 – Hephaï, a French start-up developing an AI-based digital education platform, today announces the appointment of Armelle Roussac as head of sales.
In her new role, Ms. Roussac will be in charge of preparing the launch of the app to make it available to patients living with asthma or COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease) by the end of 2022. Her responsibilities include coordinating the test phase of the app with healthcare professionals, as well as developing partnerships with key pharmaceutical groups.
“We are delighted to welcome Armelle to the Hephaï team as we enter a new strategic development phase. Following the success of our Zephir guide, created for patients with asthma or COPD, it was crucial to launch a free and easy-to-use educational application designed to help patients use their inhalers properly and be more observant with their treatment over the long term,” said Dr Valéry Trosini-Désert, pulmonologist and co-founder of Hephaï.
Ms. Roussac has extensive experience in medical devices, acquired in both France and Europe. She was previously head of sales at Neurolite, a medtech company, where, for seven years, she was in charge of promoting sleep medicine solutions with pulmonologists. Prior to that, from 2013 to 2015, Armelle was head of business development for France and Europe at EyeBrain. She holds a master’s degree in neurosciences from the University of Montpellier, France, and an MBA from IAE Montpellier.
“I am thrilled to join a fast-growing start-up working every day with healthcare professionals and pharmaceutical partners to support patients living with asthma or COPD. I’m looking forward to preparing the launch of our digital platform by the end of the year, with the objective to offer patients a unique tool to use their inhalers effectively,” said Armelle Roussac.
A unique AI-based digital tool for asthma and COPD patients
Inhalers are the primary treatment for both asthma and COPD. Typically, patients have to make regular use of them in order to control their chronic disease. Unfortunately, it is commonplace for errors to occur when using the inhalers: an estimated 30–40% of patients with COPD do not use theirs correctly. This can have a direct impact on how they take the medication, reducing its benefits.
In addition, consultations with pulmonologists and GPs are often too brief to provide sufficient time to monitor the use of the prescribed inhaler medication, or to give patients a full explanation about its use. Consultations at pharmacies are also too short to provide patients with guidance. As a result, many people are unaware of the correct techniques to use their inhaler effectively, as they lack professional training or advice. This is why an educational approach is needed to provide step-by-step instructions on the correct use.
Hephaï’s educational app makes it possible to assess whether the inhaler treatment has been taken correctly. If there are issues, the tool can establish a corrective process, or inform the patient’s doctor.
The app can be recommended by the prescribing doctor or pharmacist and will be available for free download in 2022 via Apple and Android devices. It is recognized as a Class 1 medical device.
A total of 299 million people worldwide live with asthma or COPD. Over the past 30 years, there has been unprecedented growth in the market for inhaled therapy. The global respiratory inhalers market is expected to reach USD 47.83 billion by 2026 growing at an annual growth rate of 5.38% during the forecast period from 2021 to 2026.
Hephaï develops an AI-based digital education platform to support patients in correctly using their inhalers prescribed for asthma and COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), in order to maximize effectiveness.
Considering the sheer variety of inhaler-based treatments available, there is a significant lack of information on the best techniques for patients to use, resulting in 30-40% not knowing how to use their inhaler properly. These critical errors are exacerbated by doctors and pulmonologists having very little time to dedicate to monitoring proper inhaler use. As a result, the treatment is less effective, with potentially significant negative health consequences.
Hephaï uses AI to automatically assess the patient’s inhaler technique and to provide a virtual coach that can guide them through the process for its correct use, as well as providing feedback and alerting the patient’s doctor if necessary.
Hephaï’s goal is to improve care for respiratory conditions by minimizing the risks associated with incorrect use and to gather Real-World Evidence (RWE) on the use of ready-to-use inhaler medication.
Hephaï builds upon ten years of prior research into inhaled medication prescribed for asthma and COPD and on the success of the ZEPHIR guide. Its app is expected to be launched in 2022 on smartphones, tablets and PCs, in partnership with pharmaceutical companies, such as Chiesi.
Founded in 2019 in Paris, France, by Dr Valéry Trosini-Desert, Serge Kinkingéhun and Dr Thomas Similowski, the company is incubated at Paris Biotech Santé and supported by the Wilco accelerator. Hephaï is also a laureate of EIT Health. Its partners include AP-HP, Bpifrance, Microsoft, Medicen and France Biotech. In 2021 Hephaï received a Catalyst Award as part of the US National Academy of Medicine ‘Healthy Longevity Global Competition’ to further develop its platform.
- Andrew Lloyd Associates