Study finds Akili's digital medicine platform may offer non-invasive way to screen for amyloid deposits

Pfizer and partner Akili Interactive Labs on Friday presented top-line data at the International Conference on Clinical Trials for Alzheimer's Disease showing that the latter's digital medicine platform detected a significant difference between people with and without brain amyloidosis. Eddie Martucci, CEO of Akili, said "these initial results suggest that our digital biomarkers may have the potential to serve as non-invasive options to screening procedures," adding that "we're also excited by the potential for early detection of neurological dysfunction, and we're looking forward to further exploring that potential on our own and with strategic partners."

The study enrolled healthy individuals who underwent a quantitative positron emission tomography (PET) scan to determine the presence of brain amyloid. Participants also received a full neurological work-up, which included magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and non-Akili cognitive endpoints, such as measures of memory and attention.

Results showed that the technology, derived from Akili's patent-pending cognitive measurement platform, differentiated between older healthy participants who were positive for amyloid brain deposits and an age-matched comparison group of amyloid-negative subjects, "both in change over time and at the completion visit after 28-day remote self-administration protocol," the companies said. They added that all metrics were obtained from participant interaction with the cognitive assessment tool, designed to operate as a fast-paced video game on a tablet, and that compliance with the tool was high. Pfizer and Akili also indicated that "further analyses of a variety of digital metrics from this study that correlate with the PET, MRI and other patient data are underway."

Ole Isacson, chief scientific officer at Pfizer's neuroscience research unit, stated "we are encouraged by the results of this trial, and we look forward to exploring ways that we might be able to implement innovative new technologies like the Akili platform into the clinical trial process."

Pfizer and Akili established their non-exclusive collaboration in 2014 to assess the potential correlation between Akili's proprietary digital biomarkers and one or more of the accepted neurological markers for asymptomatic Alzheimer's disease.

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