Pfizer, IBM partner to develop monitoring system for Parkinson’s disease

pharmafile | April 8, 2016 | News story | Medical Communications, Research and Development Parkinson's disease, Pfizer, collaboration, ibm, research, technology 

US pharma giant Pfizer (NYSE: PFE) and International Business Machines Corp (NYSE: IBM) have partnered on a research project focussed on Parkinson’s disease.

The collaboration is aimed at creating a remote monitoring system to support patients with Parkinson’s disease. The non-invasive, real-time flow of patient data is believed will help attain better insights into the progression of the disease and aid treatment plans.

By applying advanced analytics and machine learning to sensor data, the hope is to transform the way neurological diseases are diagnosed and treated, the companies said in a joint statement. 

Mikael Dolsten, President of Pfizer worldwide research and development says: “We have an opportunity to potentially redefine how we think about patient outcomes and 24/7 monitoring, by combining Pfizer’s scientific, medical and regulatory expertise with IBM’s ability to integrate and interpret complex data in innovative ways. The key to our success will be to deliver a reliable, scalable system of measurement and analysis that would help inform our clinical programs across important areas of unmet medical need, potentially accelerating the drug development and regulatory approval processes and helping us to get better therapies to patients, faster.” 

The two companies expect the system to ‘quickly’ get into early clinical trials. 

Arvind Krishna, Director of IBM Research, says: “With the proliferation of digital health information, one area that remains elusive is the collection of real-time physiological data to support disease management. We are testing ways to create a system that passively collects data with little to no burden on the patient, and to provide doctors and researchers with objective, real-time insights that we believe could fundamentally change the way patients are monitored and treated.” 

Parkinson’s disease in particular requires ongoing adjustment to medication depending on the progression of the disease and response of the patient. 

According to the World Health Organization, neurological disorders including Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy impact almost one billion families around the world and account for 12% of total deaths globally. 

About 60,000 Americans are diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease each year according to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, and an estimated seven to 10 million people suffer from the disease globally. 

Anjali Shukla

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