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Trend: Biopharma embraces digital cognitive assessments to identify behavioral health biomarkers

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The hunt for behavioral health biomarkers is harnessing digital health at the research stage (MedCity News):

“Digital health companies are going through an interesting transformation as research institutions realize the benefit of their technology to collect and manage data for a host of studies. The biopharma industry’s embrace of some digital health tools to manage the costs of drug development has led to more frequent collaborations with research institutions, particularly in the behavioral health space…There’s also the great hunt for biomarkers and other clues that cognitive assessments can provide in piecing together data that can lead to earlier interventions from depression to schizophrenia.

Academic researchers from University of North Carolina and Harvard turned to technology company Verily and spinoff company Mindstrong to collect and manage data for a study across 19 hospitals to identify the biomarkers associated with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder…The company (Savonix) closed a $5.1 million Series A round in June to add more partnerships and enter markets in Japan and China…Dr. John Torous is co-director of the digital psychiatry program at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, a Harvard Medical School affiliated teaching hospital. He is part of a team that worked with Boston-based software developer Zco to produce its cognitive assessment app LAMP (Learn, Assess, Manage, Prevent) for assessing Alzheimer’s disease. Torous said in an email that they are currently awaiting institutional review board approval to use the app to assess schizophrenia and depression.”

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