Takeda announces digital health collaborations to power clinical trials

By Heather Mack
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Pharmaceutical company Takeda is looking to up its digital strategy game, pairing with a few companies to advance clinical trials, analyze data and develop biosensor and wearable technology.

Takeda has adopted the platform of Koneska Health, an early stage technology company that works with data gathered through mobile, wearable and other digital technologies to measure health indicators, to power some of the pharmaceutical company’s clinical trials using biosensors and wearables.

The goal for Takeda is to develop what they call “digital biomarkers” – data gleaned from devices that continuously monitor patients’ vital signs, activity levels and sleep metrics. Ultimately, Takeda hopes such metrics will aid in decision-making and help establish endpoints to assess a patient’s functional status in an everyday setting.

“Working with Koneska enables us to take advantage of technologies and expertise that provide access to novel data streams and make our clinical trials more patient-centric,” Takeda’s Senior Director of Novel Data Streams and Devices Elena Izmailova said in a statement. “Koneska’s end-to-end solution allows us to collect this data in our studies using Koneska’s sensors and devices. Takeda’s commitment to digital health involves working with an ecosystem of external partners that, like Koneska, have a focus on both rigor and innovation." 

This comes just a few months after Takeda launched a pilot project using wearable technology to manage symptoms and triggers for inflammatory bowel disease.

Takeda is also collaborating with German image analysis and data company Definiens for another aspect of clinical trials – tissue analysis. Using Definien’s cloud-based digital pathology platform VeriTrova, which allows for biomarker analysis, Takeda will leverage the technology reduce the normal analysis time from months to weeks.

“VeriTrova accelerates clinical trials through remote uploading and viewing of digitized IHC images from wet-lab partners and CROs to the cloud, where the images are analyzed,” Definiens Vice President of Business Development and Strategy Thomas Colarusso said in a statement.

Takeda expects the system to improve clinical trial timelines as well as quality of imagine analysis, the company said in a statement.

The company, which was founded in Japan 230 years ago, has been exploring several new partnerships with technology companies as of late, and just created a new job in January for Nicole Moward-Nassar as vice president of external partnerships to facilitate this new direction. At Health 2.0 in September, the company held a competition seeking digital health applications for people with multiple depressive disorder, and Takeda is also working on a collaborative study with Vanderbilt University using smartwatches as symptom trackers for people with digestive health issues.