AstraZeneca has entered into strategic collaborations with two distinct digital health innovators, Eko and eko.ai, in order to harness the use of digital technologies to improve safety and outcomes for people living with heart failure (HF). The collaborations will drive practice-changing solutions for HF screening, diagnosis and management through the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and technology to accelerate HF diagnosis and enable earlier and more accurate prediction of HF risk and cardiovascular (CV) complications.
HF is a life-threatening disease in which the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body.1 Affecting approximately 64 million people worldwide,2 symptoms can be non-specific and require manual procedures to diagnose. New technologies are needed to bring higher speed and accuracy to diagnosis, aiming to detect HF and HF worsening earlier, in order to slow disease progression and reduce hospital re-admission rates.
AstraZeneca‘s partnership with Eko, a California-based digital health and AI company, will seek to accelerate the development of AI to detect HF. Eko’s AI algorithms in combination with its stethoscopes and electrocardiogram devices can already screen for heart murmurs and atrial fibrillation, which if left undiagnosed can lead to stroke and HF. In December 2019, Eko announced FDA Breakthrough Device Designation for a novel ECG-based algorithm that can identify reduced Left Ventricular Ejection Fraction (LVEF), a measure commonly used to diagnose patients with HF. This designation demonstrates the need for new, easily accessible, and rapid screening tools for HF.
Connor Landgraf, CEO and co-founder of Eko, said: “Eko was founded to provide a better way to understand heart and lung health and to improve cardiopulmonary care for patients through digital technology and novel algorithms. This collaboration with AstraZeneca will allow us to expand the capability of our technology, generate real-world data, and explore disease management solutions while leveraging AstraZeneca’s global expertise and existing relationships across the treatment continuum for heart failure.”
AstraZeneca also partnered with eko.ai, a healthcare technology company, with a mission to improve patient outcomes and expand healthcare access, on early stage research and development to later stage scientific research to generate real-world evidence, aiming to simplify and democratise echocardiography, or ultrasound of the heart, the most commonly used tool for the detection of CV risk.
Carolyn Lam, co-founder, eko.ai, Senior Consultant Cardiologist at the National Heart Centre of Singapore, Professor of Cardiology at Duke-NUS Graduate Medical School, said: “Patients living with heart failure are up against startling statistics. Half of patients will die within five years of diagnosis, and it remains as deadly as some of the most common types of cancer. The sad truth is patients often live with heart failure for months and months before getting diagnosed, and symptoms of heart failure in the primary care setting often go undiagnosed -- leaving patients to end up in the hospital. Through earlier diagnosis and prevention, we have an immense opportunity to address these unmet needs and close these gaps in care through innovative solutions.”
The two collaborations will help AstraZeneca to improve treatment of HF across the spectrum of care – from research and development, through diagnosis and tools for healthcare professionals, to tracking patient health from home.
Joris Silon, Senior Vice President, Cardiovascular Renal and Metabolism, AstraZeneca, said: “There are millions of people living with or at risk for heart failure. By tapping into cutting-edge digital health technologies, we could harness the potential to improve access to individualised care and generate better patient outcomes.”
1. Mayo Clinic. Heart failure; [cited 2020 July 30]. Available from: URL: https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-failure/symptoms-causes/syc-20373142.
2. Vos T et al. Global, regional, and national incidence, prevalence, and years lived with disability for 328 diseases and injuries for 195 countries, 1990–2016: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2016. The Lancet 2017; 390(10100):1211–59.
Veeva ID: Z4-25939
Date of Preparation: July 2020