Capturing everyday human behavior data for rigorous virtual studies.
CEO: Deborah Kilpatrick
Based: San Mateo, California
The scoop: When big data firm Evidation Health first launched in 2012, its founders were making a bet on whether the life sciences industry would have an appetite strong enough for the flood of patient information it knew it was capable of delivering.
Today, it’s obvious how much that bet has paid off—with biopharma and medtech companies clamoring for the ability to layer value-adding tech on top of their drugs and medical devices, all based on validated insights to patient usage and their day-to-day lives.
To better separate the signal from the noise, Evidation first collects all the noise: its platform incorporates information from more than 100 continuous data sources, including patients’ own smartphones, wearables and reported outcomes, and links them with electronic health records, insurance claims, environmental reports and the rest.
But from the start, Evidation’s business model has been built around giving participants control of their data, paying them for the privilege, and returning to them for informed consent over time for new access and use.
“One of the things that will be critical in the future, where digital biomarkers are a reality, is that the patient must be in control,” Evidation CEO Deborah Kilpatrick tells FierceMedTech. “The patient has to be at the center from a privacy and security standpoint.”
What makes Evidation fierce: Evidation’s data platform ingests over 1 trillion data points annually, drawn from millions of participants across different disease areas, and feeds them through a virtual study design and execution engine that’s compliant with federal privacy and research regulations and good clinical practices.
The company’s research partners can then query that anonymized data based on their own needs and use the platform to contact, consent and enroll participants outside of the brick-and-mortar walls of a clinic.
Last December, the company expanded its multiyear collaboration with Eli Lilly, to develop digital biomarkers across the Big Pharma’s therapeutic areas—including, for example, in the real-world use of continuous glucose monitors and insulin pumps, to help Lilly build out its connected diabetes product ecosystem. Evidation has also partnered with Sanofi, gathering behavioral data as a means to boost medication adherence.
Elsewhere, Evidation has launched a yearlong observational study to develop digital biomarkers into chronic pain—tasking its own platform to enroll 10,000 participants in just over six months—using daily movement, diet, genomics and other health data to stitch together a broader picture that can be employed in prospective clinical studies.
It’s all part of what Kilpatrick describes as Evidation’s efforts to gather insight into patients’ symptomology and find the connecting thread in their everyday lives that can provide opportunities for improving health.
“In conditions where you have exacerbations of symptoms on an unpredictable basis—such as in autoimmune conditions or migraines—we're learning pretty deeply about the relationship between those types of exacerbations and their effects on sleep and physical activity patterns,” Kilpatrick says. “Those are the kinds of relationships that we think are incredibly important when you start thinking about optimal dosing of therapies and measurement of outcomes.”
“You can measure outcomes in a different way and link it to different types of contextual data,” she adds. “It's just simply not available inside the clinical setting, but it's readily available inside everyday life.”
Earlier in her career, Kilpatrick was director of R&D and new ventures in the cardiovascular intervention division of Guidant, now a part of Boston Scientific and Abbott Laboratories. One of the main questions that dogged her and her colleagues then, which she hopes Evidation may be able to provide answers to in the future, was finding the precipitating factors that could cause an implanted defibrillator to fire, beyond the heart’s electrical signals.
“We were always trying to understand what kinds of situations a person might be in,” Kilpatrick sells. “Is it an exercise condition, or is it when you're just waking up? Is there a pattern that has to do with the weather? Are there patterns with other drugs you might be taking?”
“But it was really difficult to measure, either in a clinical trial or in the postmarket setting, simply because you couldn't follow patients around all the time and measure context or situations,” instead relying on patient and family recollections of the event, she says. “I think we've just up-leveled our ability to know those kinds of things.”
In 2019, Evidation expects to publish data from years of work into analyzing voice and speech patterns for early signs of cognitive decline in patients that may go on to develop Alzheimer’s disease, conducted as part of a DARPA grant along with MIT, Boston University and the long-term Framingham study.
In practice, the research into speech-based digital biomarkers may allow those at risk for neurodegenerative diseases to opt in to studies where they can supply voice recordings for analysis on a regular basis.
“It's very powerful to be able to be connected to this many people in their daily life,” Kilpatrick says. “I think it's the dream of the entire healthcare ecosystem to reach out and touch people directly where they are, without needing them to intersect with brick-and-mortar walls. That allows us to have broader diversity in participants across the board. We're very proud of the capability we've built.”