GlaxoSmithKline Alludes To ResearchKit Plans


Apple’s ResearchKit has been surprisingly well embraced by academic research institutions since its March launch, racking up a list of prestigious research partners that includes Stanford Medicine, Massachusetts General Hospital, Penn Medicine, the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, the American Heart Association, and the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research. Now, Apple’s crowd-sourced research platform is beginning to attract for-profit organizations, including a number of recent big pharma additions.

Recently, both GlaxoSmithKline and Purdue Pharma have unveiled research plans that leverage Apple’s ResearchKit platform. GlaxoSmithKline is moving toward the platform to support data collection during clinical trials. The company says that it was initially drawn to the platform due to its unique ability to “improve patient engagement and data collection.” Though the company did not disclose specifics on its ongoing research, it has confirmed that ResearchKit-based clinical trials would be rolling out over the next several months.

Purdue Pharma, a multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical company based in Connecticut, expanded on a similar sentiment. The company also plans to supplement clinical trial data collection efforts through ResearchKit. Purdue VP and CIO Larry Pickett, Jr. explains, “We know that all these changes in tech are going to impact healthcare, but we don’t know exactly how. People have been talking about it for a long time, but haven’t been able to figure out how to leverage that data and take advantage of it. My team views ResearchKit as a very significant milestone in being able to move that capability ahead.”

While neither Purdue nor GlaxoSmithKline have published ResearchKit-connected apps to the app store, the pair represent the first major for-profit corporations to publically embrace ResearchKit as a method for coordinating data collection during complex clinical trials. With just four months in existence under its belt, Apple’s newest initiative is arguably making the largest impact to digital health of any contribution made this year. While its true impact will be measured in any cost savings or data integrity improvements it manages to deliver to researchers, the growing embrace of the platform by both academic and for-profit institutions is a great early sign for Apple’s ResearchKit.

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