Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Verily supplies smart watch for Parkinson’s research

Steve Rogerson
May 22, 2018

Alphabet subsidiary Verily, formerly known as Google Life Sciences, is supplying smart wearables for an initiative sponsored by the Michael J Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s research.
The Parkinson’s Progression Markers Initiative (PPMI) seeks to discover biomarkers of Parkinson’s disease (PD) and its progression. As a research partner for the initiative, Verily will provide its multi-sensor investigational wearable device, the Verily Study Watch, to more than 800 US-based PPMI study participants.
“Adding biosensor data from the Verily Study Watch provides a new axis of information for the already robust data set being built by our PPMI collaborators,” said Ritu Kapur, product manager for Verily’s neurology platform, in a blog post. “In combination with the deep clinical, molecular and imaging data already being collected in PPMI, these biosensor data will enhance the ability to define better markers for the diagnosis and progression of PD as well as new endpoints for therapeutic trials. The ultimate goal is to advance new treatments and ultimately find a cure for this disorder, which affects millions of people worldwide.”
Finding objective measurements of Parkinson’s disease is an important step towards developing more effective treatments. Parkinson’s disease looks different from person to person, and within the same person from hour to hour.
“As someone who has spent the bulk of her career analysing signals collected from biosensors and trying to understand their relationship to underlying biology, I know how difficult it is to differentiate actual disease progression from treatment effects and measurement variability,” said Kapur.
Verily is setting out to build the devices, algorithms and analytic outputs that bring relevant and reliable measurements to aid in the diagnosis and management of conditions such as Parkinson’s disease. People with PD can experience disordered movement, sleep, cognition and mood, making the disease a suitable model system to develop tools meant to assess these functions.
Verily’s goal is to build digital and other approaches that give a clearer understanding of PD. The aim is to help researchers and therapeutic partners accelerate the development of treatments and to help clinicians monitor disease in real time to guide treatment and improve outcomes.
The PPMI collaboration marks the next chapter in an on-going relationship between Verily and the Michael J Fox Foundation. MJFF, Verily and other industry partners recently announced their participation in the National Institutes of Health Accelerating Medicines Partnership Parkinson’s disease (AMP PD) programme, another effort to advance understanding of PD. Verily is building a knowledge portal for the AMP PD programme to enable the sharing and analysis of de-identified data across all of the studies in the partnership, of which the PPMI is one.
“We are excited to expand Verily’s portfolio of efforts aimed at furthering our understanding of Parkinson’s disease and other neurological conditions, such as the Personalised Parkinson Project and the SysteMS study,” said Kapur. “We at Verily endeavour to collect, organise and activate this biosensor, molecular and imaging data to derive deeper insights into neurological diseases, assist in bringing better treatments to those affected by these disorders, and ensure better health outcomes so that people can enjoy healthier lives.”
The Verily Study Watch is an investigational device and has not been cleared or approved by the FDA.