GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and Purdue Pharma have declared their interest in Apple´s ResearchKit platform to gather medical data from iPhone users. The big pharmaceutical companies see it as an opportunity to engage patients into data collection. This tool could help them better direct their multi-million investments in potential therapies.
ResearchKit was presented in March. It is an open-source software framework that helps collects iPhone user´s medical data. Apple´s aim is to get the general population into massive clinical trials where sample size is not an issue, without a practitioner´s subjectivity and with full data intakes. Health professionals and researchers have used ResearchKit to develop several apps that monitor the user´s health. Some of the participating institutions are Stanford University, The University of Oxford or the Mt. Sinai School of Medicine.
The first apps were dedicated to track or diagnose diabetes, breast cancer, asthma, cardiovascular disease and Parkinson’s disease. A study on the LGBT community will use an iPhone app that is also based on ResearchKit. The PRIDE Study will survey people from the LGBT community about health risk factors like HIV/AIDS, smoking, cancer, obesity, and depression, to know their special health needs.
Now GSK wants to integrate ResearchKit into their for-profit clinical trials, and Purdue Pharma is studying the technology´s possibilites. The pharmaceutical companies would benefit from designing an app that asked users questions and collected data through the iPhone’s sensors. Apple is not concerned about the monetary use of their platform as long as ResearchKit use guidelines are followed. Moreover, they do not see a point in opposing something that can improve people´s health.