BioXcel Therapeutics (NASDAQ: BTAI) founder and CEO Dr. Mehta Vimal spoke with Benzinga about its BXCL-501 drug candidate for agitation in Alzheimer’s patients — and how it relates to wearable devices.

The drug has been granted Fast Track Designation by the FDA. 

Benzinga: BioXcel Therapeutics is using artificial intelligence and machine learning to develop new therapies. What are some of these therapies and how are they related to BXCL-501?

Vimal: BioXcel has developed BXCL-501 to treat acute agitation in patients with Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. These patients are at higher risk of having multiple episodes of agitation. As wearable digital devices continue to become more popular, we are looking to develop our own wearable device to help with agitation.

We are using the Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL) Watch, which can help predict when a patient will have an episode of agitation. These wearable devices measure many different types of parameters, such as heart rate and activity, which are indicators used to predict when agitation might occur.

In most cases, these patients live in nursing homes or have caregivers due to their Alzheimer’s disease. If the patient is wearing these devices, it can alert the caregiver that they are about have an episode, and they can move quick can treat it using the BXCL-501.

One of the key objectives is to expand BXCL-501 into the prevention space in addition to treatment. We want to provide a comprehensive patient solution for acute agitation, which is the strategy initiated to combine a digital device with a therapy like BXCL-501.

Benzinga: How does a wearable device operate with BXCL-501?

Vimal: The wearable devices can help detect when a patient might get an episode of agitation. In some instances, if the caregiver can catch it in the early stages, then the patient can avoid having to go to the hospital. 

Patients that don’t catch it early on and are highly agitated have no means to treat it. They have to take an ambulance to the emergency room to get treated. All that can be avoided if the agitation is found in the beginning using the wearable devices and treated using the BXCL-501. 

Benzinga: How does a wearable device help reduce costs for patients with agitation?

Vimal: Wearable devices are another tool to combat agitation that can provide more choices to the caregivers and physicians to treat patients effectively.

Some patients have to receive emergency room treatment and might have to stay overnight if they are highly agitated. If the caregivers can be alerted early on when a patient is about to have agitation, they can treat it much easier with BXCL-501 and avoid having to go to the hospital and incurring all those expenses.