Ad Scientiam to develop smart device to track NMOSD symptoms

Digital biomarker tool could help doctors make decisions about treatment

Lindsey Shapiro, PhD avatar

by Lindsey Shapiro, PhD |

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Ad Scientiam is developing new digital biomarkers of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder (NMOSD) that may allow continuous and remote monitoring of patients’ symptoms over time.

The Paris-based software company announced the program launch along with a similar one for people with generalized myasthenia gravis, another rare autoimmune disease.

Ad Scientiam, which has been developing the expertise for the technology over the last five years, will also have support from Alexion, AstraZeneca Rare Disease. Alexion Pharmaceuticals, before its acquisition by AstraZeneca, developed the approved NMOSD therapy Soliris (eculizumab).

“Easy-to-use digital tools have the potential to generate reliable and objective data to better understand the real impact of the disease on patients’ lives and also have the potential to demonstrate the benefits of novel therapies to keep disease under control,”  Matthieu Lamy, Ad Scientiam’s president, said in a company press release.

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NMOSD patients lacking measurement tools to track symptoms

NMOSD is a progressive autoimmune disease affecting the nervous system, especially the spinal cord and optic nerve, which mediates the communication between the eyes and the brain.

It’s usually marked by relapses, or flare-ups of inflammation and symptom worsening, interspersed with periods of remission. Symptoms often get worse with each relapse, and patients accrue permanent disability over time.

To date, there are no objective measurement tools for NMOSD patients to track their symptoms over time, and the potential effects of NMOSD treatments, according to Ad Scientiam.

The company hopes to develop digital biomarkers that could help fill that gap.

A digital biomarker is a physiological or behavioral measure collected on a smartphone or other digital device that is associated with clinical measures of disease features, working as a proxy for, or add-on to, such in-person tests. The collected data on digital devices are then analyzed by an algorithm to continuously monitor disease progression.

In addition to helping patients better understand their disease, the data can be used remotely by healthcare providers to predict health-related outcomes and make better care decisions for their patients.

“We believe that empowering patients through real-time digital data sharing could strengthen communication between patients and healthcare professionals, and may enable more informed disease management decisions,” said Guido Sabatella, MD, global medical lead in neurology at Alexion.

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Ad Scientiam seeking to translate digital biomarker data into patient device

The company has already identified clinically-meaningful digital biomarkers to monitor NMOSD progression, and is now seeking to translate that information into a digital medical device for patients.

“International, multicenter, comparative studies against clinical gold standards, such as … assessments of visual function, [walking] and dexterity in NMOSD will be deployed to confirm the clinical relevance of selected digital biomarkers,” Saad Zinaï, MD, Ad Scientiam’s chief medical officer.

Data on the feasibility of NMOSDCopilot, a smartphone-based digital biomarker tool for assessing vision, motor, and cognitive function in NMOSD patients, will be presented by Alexion at the upcoming American Academy of Neurology Annual Meeting, to be held April 22-27.

Ad Scientiam previously developed the MSCopilot self-assessment tool for people with multiple sclerosis, another nervous system autoimmune disease, and Cardicopilot for people recovering from heart-related events.