Otsuka, the Japanese pharma company that makes the antipsychotic drug Abilify, has partnered with Australian digital health company Medibio to use Medibio’s system to assess the efficacy of its flagship product.
Medibio uses wearable-derived data about heart rate, motion, and sleep to create objective biomarkers for mental illness.
“We have proprietary algorithms and technology that use circadian heart rhythms, heart rate variability, sleep patterns, actigraphy, and other biomarkers from the body that go into our technology and help with the screening, diagnosing, and monitoring of patients who suffer from mental illness such as major depressive disorder, general anxiety disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, and other indications,” Medibio CFO Brian Mower told MobiHealthNews.
The standard of care for mental health diagnosis and screening is fairly subjective, Mower said, since it is dependent on the patient answering questions.
“The problem with that is there’s relativity associated with it because each patient is different,” he said. “You and I would answer a subjective question very differently. And even myself, [my answers might change] if it was the morning or the afternoon or based on how I slept or what was happening that day. Subjectivity is really hard to help in the continuum of care.”
Objective data can help companies like Otsuka get a better idea of how much of an effect a treatment is having. For this partnership, which is a paid commercial relationship, Medibio will analyze an existing set of data from Otsuka.
“For most pharmaceutical products, the patient either gets better or not,” Mower said. “And as those come into the system and the patient’s being monitored, we can provide an objective analysis and an objective dataset to help monitor those patients and their conditions. Whether it’s getting better or worse, whether it’s improving or declining, that’s where the objectivity comes in. So Otsuka is interested in using some of their datasets with our proprietary technology to better understand how patients may be diagnosed or monitored going forward.”
Notably this is the second major digital partnership Otsuka has embarked on around Abilify. The company has been working with Proteus Digital Health to create a commercial version of Abilify that would contain an ingestible sensor, though that effort is currently held up pending FDA clearance.
The two entries could be complementary. Proteus’s system is designed to track and measure adherence to the drug, while Medibio is designed to measure its effectiveness. It’s also possible that Medibio’s algorithms could work with some of the data gathered by the biometric patch that is also part of Proteus’s Discover system.
It’s worth noting that two members of Medibio’s executive team, Chief Product Officer Yashar Behzadi and Chief Medical Officer Greg Moon, are former Proteus team members.