Tech-focused Takeda pilots Apple Watch trial to collect depression data

Takeda is working with tech platform Cognition Kit on a wearables study for people with depression.

Wearable tech is increasingly making its way into pharma, and Takeda is welcoming the trend with open arms. Most recently, the Japanese drugmaker partnered with digital health tools venture Cognition Kit to collect active and passive patient data for a deep dive on depression.

Each person in the just-launched pilot study will wear an Apple Watch that will passively collect physical activity data all day, while three separate prompts throughout the day will remind the patients to complete cognitive and mood assessments.

The 30 subjects, ranging in age from 18 to 65, have been diagnosed with mild to moderate depression and have been prescribed an antidepressant in the past. Results from the study, which are expected in the first half of the year, will look at the wearable mood and cognition measurements, along with compliance, and compare the findings to more traditional examinations and patient-reported assessments.

A Takeda spokeswoman said via email that “the pilot study will be hypothesis-generating and will contribute to internal decision-making for future clinical studies/wearable technology considerations.”

This latest collaboration is part of an umbrella strategy at Takeda to push innovative technology through partnerships and trials. Already underway is another digital wearable program, IBData, to gather and study data from patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Takeda also recently ran a Shark Tank-like innovation contest to gather digital solutions for people with depression. A Takeda spokeswoman said the the efforts are part of Takeda’s overarching efforts to create partnerships and innovative technology in its core treatment areas of CNS, GI and oncology. Nicole Mowad-Nassar, Takeda U.S. vice president for external partnerships, was put in charge of that effort just over one year ago.

“This collaboration is part of our strategy to embrace new technology to better understand the patient experience and assist healthcare professionals in creating improved patient care pathways,” she said in a statement.

Takeda markets the major depressive disorder treatment Trintellix, and the company is among several working on technological beyond-the-pill solutions in the category. Competitor Pfizer, which markets Zoloft, last fall created a depression app called Moodivator, which helps patients track and recognize symptoms and encourages them to act by setting goals, establishing routines and identifying mood patterns over time.