Earlier in the year, Sanofi’s Dupixent (dipilumab), a monoclonal antibody treatment targeting asthma-related inflammation, was accepted for Biologics License Application review by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Now, Sanofi has partnered with Sema4, a patient-centered predictive health company spun out of Mount Sinai Health System, to launch a five-year study investigating asthma from all angles.
Approximately 20.4 million people are living with asthma, a complex respiratory disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Common symptoms include shortness of breath, coughing or wheezing and chest pain. There is no definitive cause of asthma but a combination of genetic, environmental and immunological factors may play a role.
“Despite advances in recent years, we still see many patients struggling with asthma, so there is still a tremendous need for innovation to reduce the burden of this disease,” said Dr. Linda Rogers, Associate Professor and Clinical Director of the Adult Asthma Program at the Mount Sinai – National Jewish Health Respiratory Institute.
Few studies promise such a robust strategy for data collection and analysis. In addition to traditional clinical testing and genomic sequencing, environmental and geographical data can be collected through digital monitoring. If it’s anything like ResearchKit, data about a particular location’s air quality can be measured and recorded in real-time. Fine particles from power plants or burning woodstoves can reduce air quality, which can in turn lead to airway inflammation.
“Our goal is to develop a holistic view of each patient in the study, which is why we’re excited to add digital technology to the traditional types of medical examinations conducted in this study. It’s a new way to approach this enormous problem, connecting real world clinical and scientific data, that we hope will translate into new ways to treat asthma,” said Frank Nestle, Global Head of Immunology and Inflammation Research and Chief Scientific Officer, North America, at Sanofi.
The researchers hope to better understand the causes and triggers of asthma to develop novel, highly-targeted therapies.
Large-scale collaborative research can facilitate knowledge exchange and provide access to a wealth of resources. Read more about another collaborative effort by Domain Therapeutics and Boehringer Ingelheim here.