Japanese companies collaborate to use wearable health data for drug discovery

Tohoku University’s Tohoku Medical Megabank Organization, pharmaceutical firms Daiichi Sankio and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., and medical IT company MICIN have launched a collaborative research project to track long-term living habits for new drugs.

According to a press release, the companies will lend wearable tracking devices to about 2,000 participants. Within a year, they will collect detailed and purposeful lifestyle data, such as sleep status, heart rate, and activity level.

Why it matters

In this study, health data collected from wearable devices will be combined with existing patient data from the ToMMO project, including health examination, clinical and MRI imaging data and genomic data, to accelerate pharmaceutical research, including drug discovery. The study was also seen to enable a more detailed analysis of the relationship between lifestyle and disease.

Wearable health data is expected to add new value to existing cohort data obtained by the ToMMO project, which is creating a biobank of health data to help rehabilitate medical services and promote health in earthquake-affected areas of Great East Japan. 2011.

Companies are keen to further expand and develop their research framework, which they claim is a “model case” for the era of personalized healthcare based on wearable devices.

Greater trend

Although this research collaboration is considered to be the first of its kind in Japan, collecting health information from wearables for drug development is nothing new. In 2019, the Yale University-Mayo Clinic Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation has partnered with digital health firm Bioformis to study the effectiveness of biosensor data in determining drug development for patients with heart failure.

On the record

“We hope that the addition of purposeful and sustainable lifestyle information from wearable devices to the high-quality homogenous data provided by the Tohoku Medical Megabank Project will greatly advance the initial practical application of preventive and predetermined medical solutions,” GM.

“Digitization and visualization of personal lifestyle data will dramatically accelerate patient-centered drug research and development. Together, we hope to develop new approaches to using big data that will not only lead to the creation of high-precision pharmaceuticals but also contribute to patient characteristics.” According to Seri Davis, head of Tekda’s Neuroscience Drug Discovery Unit.

MICIN CEO Seigo Hara added that they “hope that this research effort to implement data acquisition and use of wearable devices with a large local population will serve as a model case for collecting and using different data under appropriate processes”.

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