Autoimmune disease happens when the body’s natural defense system can’t tell the difference between own cells and foreign cells, causing the body to mistakenly attack normal cells. One of the most common autoimmune diseases is multiple sclerosis (in short MS), a potentially disabling disease of the central nervous system. In MS, the immune system attacks the protective sheath that covers nerve fibers and causes communication problems between the brain and the rest of the body, which can cause permanent damage or deterioration of the nerves. MS affects an estimated 2.8 million people worldwide, with women four times more likely than men to develop the disease.
Symptoms can differ from person to person, depend on the amount of nerve damage and which nerves are affected. Some people with severe MS may lose the ability to walk independently, while others may experience long periods of remission without any new symptoms. There is no cure for multiple sclerosis today, but treatments can accelerate recovery from attacks, modify the course of the disease and manage symptoms.
To help those affected by MS better understand the condition and manage their symptoms, Berlin-based Breakthrough Health built Emilyn, a leading symptom tracker and digital health platform for people living with MS. The company has now been acquired by Mymee, a leader in precision care and nutrition for individuals struggling with significant, unpredictable symptoms associated with autoimmune diseases like multiple sclerosis, lupus, Sjögren’s syndrome and rheumatoid arthritis or COVID.
Mymee is dedicated to changing the future of precision research and care for complex autoimmune diseases. For the past decade, the company has invested in ‘n-of-1‘ clinical research, focusing on individual case studies, to develop a personalized support program for people who struggle with persistent, unpredictable symptoms, including fatigue, brain fog and pain.
Mymee leverages self-evidence, or patient-reported data, to help people identify personal disease triggers, reduce symptoms and improve overall quality of life. Through its research, Mymee has uncovered 95 triggers correlated to more than 150 patient-reported symptoms in complex cases of autoimmune diseases such as lupus, RA, MS, Sjögren’s, mixed autoimmune diagnosis and long COVID. In these cases, patients experienced debilitating symptoms despite immunosuppressants, personal nutritionists or functional medicine.
“Helping those with highly variable autoimmune diseases involves both disease-specific experience and a personalized ‘n-of-1’ approach that accounts for the detailed nuances of each person’s case,” said Mymee founder Mette Dyhrberg. “The addition of Breakthrough Health’s innovation and mission-driven product, technology and growth leadership empowers us to scale and continuously improve our personalization capabilities and strengthens our support for individuals living with MS as well as those with long COVID who share some symptoms associated with neurological autoimmune diseases.”
Breakthrough Health’s founding team, Bazil Azmil, Stefano Palazzo and Rachel Reichel, will join the Mymee leadership team as Head of Growth, CTO and VP of Product, respectively, effective immediately. In 2021, Breakthrough Health won the MS Challenge from EIT Health for most innovative MS startup and partner for MS patient support.
“What we have found in supporting Emilyn’s MS community over the past four years was that most members were managing significant symptoms between neurologist visits but were without the power to predict or prevent them,” said Bazil Azmil, co-founder and former CEO at Breakthrough Health. “Our determination to find a solution led us to Mymee with their rigorous systems-based approach to connecting the dots between autoimmune symptoms and triggers and their focus on addressing the ‘n-of-1.'”