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


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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