Roche said earlier this week that its Pharma Research & Early Development unit has developed a smartphone-based monitoring system to measure the symptoms of Parkinson’s disease. 

The app is currently being used in a Phase I trial run by Prothena in collaboration with Roche, in what could be the first time such an app has been used to measure disease and symptom severity in a medicine development program in Parkinson’s disease, the firm noted.

Traditionally, disease disability and impairment are measured in trials by physician assessments using the Unified Parkinson’s Disease Rating Scale, but these are limited to the specific times. The app will enable continuous measurement of PD fluctuation every day and throughout the day. 

“Ultimately, we hope the app can be used in future clinical development to enable more objective measures on response to treatment to complement doctor assessments,” said Anirvan Ghosh, Head of Neuroscience Discovery for pRED.

Kills off Heidelberg deal

Meanwhile, the Swiss drug giant is discontinuing its two-year partnership with Wilex subsidiary Heidelberg Pharma, focused on the development of antibody-targeted amanitin conjugates to fight cancer. 

The companies signed an agreement in 2013 giving Roche a license to Heidelberg’s ATAC technology, which was subsequently expanded last year to include research on ATACs for various tumour types based on Roche antibodies.

In a statement, Wilex said the collaboration has “progressed well, on schedule, and in a mutually

satisfactory manner”, and that Roche’s decision stemmed from its prioritisation of cancer immunotherapies.