MJFF awards $2.5M grant for Parkinson’s app Soturi

Newel Health app is designed to help patients improve personalized treatment

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by Steve Bryson, PhD |

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The Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research (MJFF) has awarded a $2.5 million research grant to advance the development of Soturi, Newel Health’s digital therapeutic app designed to help patients optimize their personalized treatment plan.

The Soturi app is designed to deliver services to people with Parkinson’s in the areas of physical rehabilitation, speech therapy, and anxiety support. The app also features symptom monitoring, automated detection of symptoms via a wearable bracelet, and a medication reminder.

“The Soturi app, developed in partnership with Orion Corporation, seeks to improve the lives of people living with Parkinson’s disease (PD) using data collected from a wearable sensor to determine how people are being impacted by PD in a free-living context,” Gerry Chillè, Newel Health’s chief strategy and innovation office, said in a press release.

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“Soturi’s proprietary algorithms analyze the collected data to determine optimal treatment plan specific to the individual,” Chillè said, adding “it is an honor to have The Michael J. Fox Foundation fund our team’s innovative approach and the potential benefits that our digital solution can deliver to the PD community.”

Parkinson’s disease is marked by a progressive loss of coordination and movement problems, with motor symptoms such as tremors, abnormally slow movements, and muscle rigidity. Patients often have difficulties with walking and balance, as well as problems with repetitive actions such as handwriting.

Nonmotor symptoms, including depression and anxiety, sleeping problems, fatigue, and cognitive changes, also may occur in Parkinson’s.

The app is best suited to adults diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease for at least three years. It can be downloaded and used immediately, with instructions about how to get the free activity bracelet.

Soturi allows patients to record and track their daily symptoms with the app and set reminders to take their medication on time.

It also contains two eight-week programs: one focused on physical activity, aimed at reducing coordination and postural problems, as well as joint pain; and another involving speech exercises designed to strengthen their voice and practice new habits. The app also provides tools to manage anxiety, such as mediation.

Except for standard data fees that come with a cellphone, all the features are fully accessible at no charge.

Data bracelets educational

Notably, patients’ movement data, collected with the activity bracelet, are expected to help improve knowledge of Parkinson’s.

“At Newel Health, we aim to create solutions like Soturi that can truly make a difference in people’s lives, by harnessing the power of data and technology and keeping the human touch at the forefront of our products,” said PierPaolo Iagulli, chief operating officer at Newel Health.

“As we continue with this mission, H.Core, our proprietary software framework, propels us in accelerating the design, validation, production, and launch of all digital therapeutics and digital medicines,” Iagulli added.

Newel Health also has developed an app for people with high blood pressure. Called Amicomed, the app helps to track a person’s blood pressure and provides highly personalized lifestyle modification programs to help lower their blood pressure. It also allows remote patient monitoring by clinicians.

Roberto Ascione, chairman of the board of Healthware Ventures, a company that invested in Soturi, said that the grant “marks the first of many important milestones for the company as it continues to develop its portfolio of digital solutions so that the health journeys of people living with health conditions and their doctors’ efforts, will become as clear and successful as can be.”

“Congratulations to the team for all their dedication to this new venture and the hard work spent on these innovative solutions,” Ascione added.