Chrono Therapeutics raises $32M for smoking cessation

Faith Merino · June 12, 2014 · Short URL:

The company has designed a wearable that helps smokers quit

A friend of mine has “quit smoking” five or six times now, but then one of her New Jersey relatives comes to visit and she takes it back up again. I now feel well within my rights to judge because we’re grown ass adults; it’s not cute anymore. Furthermore, she’s a scientist—she knows better.

Part of the problem may be that she’s always tried using the e-cigarette to quit, and e-cigarettes have a pitiful success rate of just 7%. None of the current smoking cessation options on the market—patches, gum, e-cigs—offer fantastic results. So it makes sense that a wearables company would pop up to address this very problem

Chrono Therapeutics, a startup that was founded to tackle disease and addiction management, has created the SmartStop wearable smoking cessation product. The company announced Thursday that it has raised a $32 million Series A round led by Canaan Partners and 5AM Ventures, with participation from Fountain Healthcare Partners, the Mayo Clinic, and GE Ventures.

Wende Hutton of Canaan Partners and Jim Young of 5AM Ventures are both joining Chrono Therapeutics’ board of directors.

The company’s flagship product, SmartStop, is a transdermal drug delivery system and behavioral support program for smokers. In other words, it’s a device you wear on your body to deliver doses of nicotine at specific times.

Currently, there are 45 million smokers in the U.S., and 70% say they want to quit. Every year, 23 million smokers attempt to quit.

Currently, the patch delivers a low dose of nicotine throughout the day, and the e-cigarette and nicotine gum deliver low, sporadic doses of nicotine that don’t match the amount a smoker craves.

SmartStop is designed to deliver high doses of nicotine that match the user’s craving pattern. It’s not so much a learning device as it is a wearable that preemptively delivers doses of nicotine before the craving hits. CEO Alan Levy tells me that the user simply programs SmartStop so that it knows when the user is waking up, and then it delivers a dose of nicotine an hour in advance (since cravings tend to be strongest in the morning after going 7-8 hours without a cigarette). It then delivers another dose at lunchtime, which tends to be the same number of hours after wakeup for most people, and another dose in the evening at dinnertime.

Mealtimes are important since the user’s metabolism revs up, which increases nicotine metabolism.

“Clinical studies have shown that the ‘three peak’ profile is several times more effective than other therapies,” said Levy.

SmartStop also comes with an on-demand delivery option to account for changes in a user’s routine, such as a high stress or social situation.

“Subsequent generations will allow the smoker to program the system for their individual needs and habits,” said Levy. “The first product has the advantage of being incredibly easy to use and will cover the cravings of the vast majority of smokers.”

Chrono expects to have FDA approval within the next three years, and the cost to the consumer will be between $400 and $500 for a 10-week course of therapy.

“Over the past 20 years, I have had the privilege of backing Alan Levy as CEO in the founding of three life sciences companies,” said Wende Hutton, in a statement. “Alan brings an exceptional track record of success in drug/device combination therapies to Chrono.”


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