Proteus Digital Health, a Redwood City, Calif.-based “smart-pill” startup, announced Tuesday that it has appointed Molly O'Neill as its chief commercial officer.
O'Neill, 51, has joined the company after working in growth-oriented positions at several major health systems. She'll be focused on helping Proteus develop partnerships with health systems, payers and providers.
Proteus customers swallow an ingestible sensor, which at this stage of development is embedded in a capsule containing generic medicine. Once ingested, the sensor communicates with a receiver patch worn by the patient, and the patch sends data to a cellphone or other Bluetooth-enabled device that can tell the patient and physicians whether the patient took the ingredient, and give information about certain body metrics, such as rest or activity patterns.
The company announced in September that it had asked the Food and Drug Administration to allow the sensor to be embedded within Abilify, a major drug used to treat schizophrenia. The FDA said the new drug application, submitted by Proteus and Tokyo-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical Co., the maker of Abilify, is sufficiently complete and ready for a substantive review by regulators.
Most recently, O'Neill was senior vice president of business development at Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare Corp. She has also held similar positions at Boston-based Partners HealthCare, Durham, N.C.-based Duke Medicine and Falls Church, Va.-based Inova health system.
Proteus offers "a level of insight that has never existed before," O'Neill said in an interview. "I would have expected I would have spent the rest of my career on the delivery-system side, but when I saw the Proteus solution while I was at Tenet I knew this was something that was just going to be transformational."
O'Neill said she was impressed with Proteus because it has a minimal burden on the patient and provider while still involving the patient and family in the care process. She hopes to bring the voice of the provider to the product design process as Proteus further develops its product.
"You can't do this in a silo, you can't create bleeding-edge technology and not have a really solid understanding around how care gets delivered," she said.
Proteus also announced the appointment of HSBC Bank Chairman Jonathan Symonds as its board chair. He has served as CFO of Switzerland-based Novartis and London-based AstraZeneca, both drugmakers, and as a partner and managing director at Goldman Sachs. He's been on the Proteus board since June 2014.
Shumeet Banerji, founder and partner of Condorcet, an investment and advisory firm, was also named a Proteus board member.