Digital biomarkers: The future of diagnosing neurodegenerative diseases

April 07, 2022

The way we walk can reveal if we have balancing difficulties. Gait analysis is a pivotal element when researching neurodegenerative diseases. Advanced technology and wearables are vital to obtaining objective data and enabling deeper insights to the benefit of neuroscience and people living with brain diseases.

The Danish pharmaceutical company Lundbeck, who specialises in brain diseases, is a front runner in developing new pharmaceuticals and diagnostic tools for Parkinson’s disease. Lundbeck has engaged in cooperation with FeetMe, a French leader in mobility, gait and activity assessment solutions. FeetMe has developed shoe soles with digital capabilities and built-in sensors, which can help obtain objective data and enable more robust therapeutic decisions.

Digital biomarkers are an essential element in Lundbeck‘s overall strategy to digitalize and decentralize clinical development. By combining new approaches with Lundbeck’s existing scientific and innovative competencies, the potential for bringing improvements that can help better address patients’ needs are greatly improved.

Through the use of pressure sensors, motion sensors, and learning algorithms embedded in the shoe sole, it is possible to more objectively analyse the patient’s functional capacity and empower rehabilitation among people with movement disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease. Wearables and other cutting-edge technologies collect continuous data streams that will transform measurements in clinical trials from what they are now, towards truly reflecting a real-world experience.

Lundbeck is, together with leading microfluidic experts at the Danish Technical University (DTU), combining biomarker discoveries to develop a state-of-the-art biomarker assay. The project aims to not only facilitate early diagnosis of neurodegenerative diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, but also to enable improved monitoring of disease progression and effects of disease-modifying therapies.