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Sanofi Adopting Big Data for Diabetes Drug Adherence

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27 April 2016. Drug maker Sanofi is partnering with two research institutes to harness big data analytics for predicting how people with type 2 diabetes will take their medications. Sanofi’s U.S. division in Bridgewater, New Jersey announced the collaborations today with Duke Clinical Research Institute in Durham, North Carolina and Center for Assessment Technology and Continuous Health, or Catch, at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston.

Prescribing medications for chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes does not guarantee those drugs will be taken as prescribed, nor will the prescription be refilled. Among older individuals, those age 65 and over, non-adherence to medications for chronic diseases ranges from 40 to 75 percent, with reasons for not taking or continuing medications attributed to cost, number of medicines, or adverse effects, as well as personal conditions including vision loss or depression. In addition, non-adherence to medications is associated with increased hospitalization, progression of disease, and higher mortality.

Sanofi is collaborating with the two research groups to help improve patient health outcomes, drug development, clinical trial design, and quality of care. The company aims to take advantage of work at Duke and Mass. General using big data analytics to derive insights from the institutes’ large-scale collections of anonymized electronic patient health records. Those insights, says Sanofi, can help identify patterns of medication adherence down to individual patients, and generate tailored treatment strategies.

Among the insights sought from the data are ways of identifying cohorts or communities where adherence rates are lower and where more outreach and engagement with patients may be needed. The goal would be to extend those findings to individual drugs and conditions, which can help improve patient outcomes, and better design clinical trials for new treatments.

Duke Clinical Research Institute is a division of Duke University’s medical school. The institute carries out clinical trials, manages patient registries, conducts health outcomes research. It is also home to the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Diseases, which the institute says is the largest institutional cardiovascular database, in operation for 40 years.

Catch is a collaboration between Mass. General — affiliated with Harvard Medical School — and MIT that discovers new ways of measuring health and disease. The center’s goals are earlier identification of conditions, better treatments targeted to the individual, and where possible prevent disease entirely. In March, Catch released GlucoSuccess, an iPhone app created to help researchers study type 2 diabetes. The app allows patients to track health behaviors important for controlling type 2 diabetes, such as physical activity, diet, and medication adherence.

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