August 13, 2018

Digital Biomarkers for Cognitive Disorders

Commentary
Julie Carty

In a data-rich world, digital biomarkers have the potential to reduce costs, and improve patient outcomes. But what is a digital biomarker? Today we decided to take a look at the third and final topic that will feature in the HealthXL Global Gathering on February 22-23 in Basel Switzerland, Digital Biomarkers for Cognitive Disorders. We took a look at some of the innovations and companies that are developing the solutions of tomorrow, but first, what is a biomarker?

What is a Biomarker?

Simply put a biomarker is a measurable indicator of the severity or presence of some disease state. Thus, a digital biomarker is a measurable indicator of some disease state that is determined using a connected digital device. We decided to take a closer look at some of the companies and innovations in the space. Check it out below!

Why are we talking about it?

Cognitive disorders, often not well understood, are a disease category that has the potential to be impacted by digital biomarkers. Take for example a person with diagnosed with Parkinson’s Disease, they develop the disease from a complex interaction between their genotype and environment which leads to the parkinson’s phenotype: Tremor, Bradykinesia, postural instability. The beauty of digital biomarkers comes from when they can be deployed to objectively detect these phenotypes which can usually only be detected subjectively by a doctor later on in the progression of the disease. Check out three companies that we have found that are making strides within this nascent space:

Companies to watch that are innovating in the space

Neurotrack

Neurotrack’s first product, Imprint, released early this year, is a digital cognitive test that enables earlier and more effective evaluation of patients who may be at risk for cognitive decline. Imprint is a 5-minute web-based test that uses eye-tracking technology to assess brain function. Neurotrack has raised $8 million in funding to date and recently partnered with Welkin Health for a Study on Advanced Solutions for Individuals At Risk for Cognitive Decline.

Akilii

Akili is building a clinically validated, cognitive therapeutic assessment and diagnostic tool that looks and feels like a video game. Akili’s leading project, EVO is currently being evaluated in the STARS-ADHD study. They have raised $73 million in funding to date.

NeuraMetrix

Neurametrix detects and monitors brain diseases, disorders, and injuries with non-invasive software that measures sub-clinical human cognitive and motor function based on typing cadence. The solution is so sensitive it notices inconsistencies in typing cadence that would usually go unnoticed by the naked eye.