Takeda, Lundbeck, Advocate Health Care collaborate on depression app study

By Dave Muoio
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A newly announced study backed by Takeda Pharmaceuticals, Lundbeck US, and Advocate Health Care will explore the effectiveness of a mobile app designed to improve engagement between patients with major depressive disorder (MDD) and their providers.

The investigation will use the Advocate Pathway App to capture the start of or any adjustments to a patient’s antidepressant therapy. Through a consumer-friendly interface, users will also be able to record their mood symptoms, side effects, medication adherence, and more. These all can be shared with the patient’s provider to guide care and initiate conversations between the two parties.

“We are enthusiastic about providing a technology solution that directly addresses existing gaps in patient-clinician engagement, as well as responds to the growing needs impacting chronic disease management,” Dr. David Kemp, study principal investigator and medical director of the Behavioral Health Service Line at Advocate Health Care, said in a statement. “We are dedicated to being a catalyst for scientific discovery that can profoundly advance patient care and look forward to collaborating with Takeda and Lundbeck to drive this forward.”

The pharma-provider collaboration will recruit all of the study’s MDD patients from Advocate Health Care’s patient population. Investigators will assess patient-provider engagement at baseline and at 18 weeks using the Patient Activation Measure, a validated scale for patient’s self-management of a disease, and the Patient Provider Engagement Scale, an assessment developed specifically for this study by Advocate Health Care. While the primary outcome will be changes in the scores on these two scales, the researchers will also be examining changes in depression severity, cognitive dysfunction, medication adjustments, adherence, satisfaction with the app, and other measures associated with depression and depression care.

“Depression is a complex disease that affects individuals differently. At Lundbeck, we believe each patient deserves a unique approach to making sure their treatment plan is specific to their needs,” Dr. Doug Williamson, chief medical officer and vice president of US drug development at Lundbeck, said in a statement. “We’re excited about our collaborative partnership with Advocate Health Care, which we hope will advance our understanding of the impact of digital technologies for MDD patients and practitioners to help tailor treatment approaches and support the promotion of overall better health outcomes.”

The announcement is the latest in Takeda’s ongoing campaign of depression-focused digital health initiatives. Earlier this year, the pharmaceutical company partnered with UK-based Cognition Kit for a study where participants with diagnosed depression were given an Apple Watch. The devices were loaded with a cognitive assessment app, which along with the watch’s continuous data collection are being used to glean new insights into MDD. At Health 2.0 in 2016, Takeda also announced a challenge asking digital health companies to design new innovations for those living with depression. Lundbeck, for its part, announced in August a collaboration with 23andMe and the Milken Institute for a genetic study designed to grasp the underlying biology of MDD and bipolar disorder.