BlueRock Therapeutics recently announced collaborative partnerships with Rune Labs and Emerald Innovations in BlueRock’s noninterventional clinical study of the effects of Parkinson’s disease. Clinical trials that assess the symptoms and functional impacts of Parkinson’s disease typically rely on single-point-in-time measurements and subjective patient observations, according to BlueRock. BlueRock president and CEO Seth Ettenberg wants to assess Rune Labs’ and Emerald Innovation’ digital health technologies for collecting objective, continuous measures of the effects of Parkinson’s disease on patients.

BlueRock is currently conducting an initial clinical study of stem cell-based therapy for Parkinson’s disease. BlueRock plans to release the first study results later in 2023. The next stage in BlueRock’s investigations will be a two-year study with 50 Parkinson’s patients from around the world. The global study will collect continuous data on the disease’s symptoms, progression, and functional impact. This is a noninterventional observation study to learn more about the disease and to assess the suitability of digital health tools in clinical studies.

Patients in the BlueRock study will wear Apple Watches to detect and record all movements. BlueRock will use Rune Lab’s StriveStudy platform to measure general mobility, tremor intensity, dyskinesia, and involuntary muscle movements. In addition to capturing the specific movement data, StriveStudy will track patient compliance with wearing the Apple Watch. BlueRock will also use Emerald Innovations’ non-contact radio signal monitoring technology to collect and analyze data on patients’ gait speed, mobility, and sleep quality. The Emerald biosensor is not a wearable but a standalone device that remains in the subjects’ homes. BlueRock will use data from Rune’s StriveStudy platform and Emerald’s movement detection to assess the respective digital techs’ potential use in further studies of Parkinson’s disease.

BlueRock’s collaboration with Rune Labs and Emerald Innovations is a data point in a shift to digital health tech playing a growing role in clinical trials of all sorts.