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Novartis, PPD conduct clinical pilot study using medical device connectivity via a smartphone app

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Startup Clinical Ink said that it's in the midst of a pilot clinical study that incorporates medical device data that's collected through a smartphone app with biopharma Novartis ($NVS) and contract research organization PPD. The trial incorporates medical device connectivity that's provided by Clinical Ink and powered by Qualcomm's ($QCOM) 2net Mobile Platform.

Novartis and Qualcomm said in January that they had partnered to explore the use of home-based devices in clinical trials; the partners said they would invest $100 million in startups to further that cause.

The study is using Clinical Ink's CentrosHealth platform, which can be used to create trial-specific mobile apps designed to track patients during a clinical trial. The apps are intended to promote more frequent, and even continuous, tracking of patients during a clinical trial in a way that provides more robust data than a trial that does not use connected devices.

Ed Seguine, Clinical Ink CEO

"CentrosHealth delivers a true patient-centric experience by capturing real-time medical device data directly through an app running on a patient's own cell phone," said Clinical Ink CEO Ed Seguine in a statement. "Working with PPD and Novartis to accomplish this 'light-weight' approach to capturing device data from patients as part of their normal daily activity has the potential to make study participation more convenient for patients while reducing costs and implementation challenges."

In March, Clinical Ink merged with CentrosHealth to acquire this clinical trial mobile app creation capability; the startup specializes in providing connected clinical trial data. MPM Capital and F2 joined FCA Venture Partners to finance Clinical Ink with an undisclosed sum at the time of the merger.

Clinical Ink also disclosed its partnership with Novartis at that time as part of the biopharma's "Trials of the Future" initiative intended to help drive industry wide adoption of completely electronic clinical trials.

"Wearable technology and the associated tools have the potential to provide great benefits for PPD, Novartis and many of our clients," said PPD EVP and CIO Mike Wilkinson in a statement. "With PPD's focus on patient-centric clinical trials, the use of wearable devices integrated with the technologies patients use on a daily basis will help reduce the burden on those who participate in clinical trials."

He added, "Through ongoing, patient-friendly dialogue and education, this leading-edge technology promises to help us minimize patient dropout, enhance patient communication and safety, and speed the trial process."

CentrosHealth incorporates contextually relevant features including calendar-integrated reminders, SMS communications, email and more. The Qualcomm platform aims to take that open medical device framework and ensure that the integrity, security and privacy of the resulting health data.

"Wireless collection and aggregation of medical device information enables clinical trial data capture to occur in a convenient, seamless and real-life setting for patients in their home," notes SVP and GM at Qualcomm Life. "This increased mobility and objective near real-time data capture can reduce data errors and bring more data transparency to clinical trials."

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