Canadian-made video game designed to help maintain abilities and quality of life for children with rare, degenerative neuromuscular disease
- Free, web-based game, Cloud Bazaar, promotes physical exercise in children with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA), a rare and degenerative neuromuscular disease.
- Game targets need for increased therapeutic exercise adherence in pediatric SMA patients by gamifying physical activities and making them more fun.
- Uses motion capture technology to track players’ movements and responds with exercises that progressively challenge them according to their level of ability.
Calgary, AB and Toronto, ON — December 14, 2022 — Raft Digital Therapeutics (Raft) and Biogen Canada are excited to announce the launch of the demo version of Cloud Bazaar, an interactive therapeutic video game. Developed in Canada, Cloud Bazaar promotes physical activity in young players with Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA), a rare and degenerative neuromuscular disease. The game aims to help players maintain physical abilities and improve health outcomes, while promoting a higher quality of life by making at-home therapeutic exercise fun and engaging.
Equipped with motion capture technology, the game tracks and responds to movements through the built-in camera on players’ computers as they navigate increasingly difficult levels. It engages young players by placing them on a “mission” in which they fly an airship that protects the fictional city of the Cloud Bazaar. To do so, they are challenged to complete a set of guided movements that were developed in consultation with, and based on, feedback from neuromuscular disease experts and youth in the SMA community.
“The most important aspect of developing the Cloud Bazaar to us was getting active participation and feedback from young people living with SMA,” said Raft CEO and physiatrist, Dr. Geoff Frost. “Our intention is to build a gaming experience that’s not only physically beneficial and enriching for players, but that’s fun and engaging so they’re keen to keep integrating therapeutic exercise into their everyday lives. Their involvement was central to making this happen.”
“Regular therapeutic exercise is crucial for maintaining physical abilities in young SMA patients, and we are proud to introduce Cloud Bazaar as a unique online game that makes physical activity fun while also promoting social inclusivity through its diverse community of users,” said Eric Tse, General Manager of Biogen Canada. “Biogen is devoted to addressing areas of unmet patient need, and our drive to innovate led us to partner with Raft to create a made-in-Canada technology that supports this rare disease community.”
The demo version of Cloud Bazaar was also recently recognized for its interactive content and rich media in the Web-Based Digital Health category at the 2022 Digital Health Awards®. Available in English and French, Cloud Bazaar is free, web-based and doesn’t require a console, making the game highly accessible for patients and families who live with SMA and may face additional financial pressures due to the disease. It also promotes inclusivity by enabling players to invite and challenge others to play and compete, either within or outside the SMA community, regardless of their level of ability.
Raft co-developed Cloud Bazaar with founding partner, Biogen Canada.
The demo is available for download on Windows at https://cloudbazaar.io/.
About Spinal Muscular Atrophy (SMA)
SMA is a rare, debilitating neurodegenerative condition that is characterized by loss of motor neurons in the spinal cord and lower brain stem, resulting in severe and progressive muscular atrophy and weakness.
Due to a deletion of, or mutation in, the SMN1 gene, people with SMA do not produce enough survival motor neuron (SMN) protein, which is critical for the maintenance of motor neurons. The severity of SMA correlates with the amount of SMN protein an individual has. Ultimately, individuals with SMA can become paralyzed and have difficulty performing the basic functions of life, like breathing and swallowing.
People with Type I (infantile-onset) SMA, the form that requires the most intensive and supportive care, produce very little SMN protein and do not achieve the ability to sit without support and typically do not live beyond two years without respiratory support. People with Type II and Type III SMA produce greater amounts of SMN protein and have less severe, but still life-altering forms of SMA.
About Raft Digital Therapeutics (Raft)
Raft is developing a platform designed to make at-home therapeutic exercise fun, engaging, and immersive to improve adherence and quality of life for patients. Founded by physiatrist Dr. Geoff Frost and other key members of the rare disease community, Raft is dedicated to bettering the lives of patients living with neuromuscular diseases through informed and intelligent game design, making programs that suit all users, no matter their level of motor function. For more about Raft, visit https://raftdt.com/.
As pioneers in neuroscience, Biogen discovers, develops, and delivers worldwide innovative therapies for people living with serious neurological diseases as well as related therapeutic adjacencies. One of the world’s first global biotechnology companies, Biogen was founded in 1978 by Charles Weissmann, Heinz Schaller, Sir Kenneth Murray, and Nobel Prize winners Walter Gilbert and Phillip Sharp. Today, Biogen has the leading portfolio of medicines to treat multiple sclerosis, has introduced the first approved treatment for spinal muscular atrophy, and developed the first and only approved treatment to address a defining pathology of Alzheimer’s disease. Biogen is also commercializing biosimilars and focusing on advancing one of the industry’s most diversified pipelines in neuroscience that will transform the standard of care for patients in several areas of high unmet need.
Since 1998, Biogen Canada has been delivering life-changing medicines and services that support unmet treatment needs and the lives of Canadians affected by neurological conditions. As a company that founds its culture on principles of equity, diversity and inclusion, Biogen Canada is proud to have been named a Best Workplace™ for Inclusion, Giving Back and Hybrid Work. To learn more, please visit www.biogen.ca.
Raft Digital Therapeutics
Senior Manager, Marketing & Communications
Head of Communications, Canada
+ 1 416 712 8399