GSK Uses Apple’s ResearchKit For Rheumatoid Arthritis Study

GlaxoSmithKline has turned to Apple’s ResearchKit to start a rheumatoid arthritis study involving 300 participants over three months. This marks the first time a drug maker has used the platform to conduct clinical research, Bloomberg reports.


Participating patients will be prompted to input both physical and emotional symptoms such as pain and mood using the app Glaxo built using ResearchKit. The app includes a guided wrist exercise that uses the iPhone’s built-in sensors to record motion. The results will be used to improve clinical trials, the report says.

“One thing we’ll learn is whether we made it compelling enough to make you want to interact with it every day,” Rob DiCicco, head of Glaxo’s clinical innovation and digital platforms group said. While acknowledging the potential shortcomings, he said that the traditional clinical trial model also has imperfections, including dealing with missing data when patients forget appointments.

Apple’s platform will allow the London-based drug maker to reduce research costs. For Apple, ResearchKit is a building block of its efforts to bolster its credentials as a provider of health technology, Bloomberg says. Building its relationship with the health-care industry could boost device sales.

As Jeff Williams, Apple’s chief operating officer said in a press release in March, the response to ResearchKit has been extraordinary with research institutions such as Mount Sinai Hospital, Johns Hopkins University and Duke University already conducting studies using the ResearchKit framework. ResearchKit studies are available in Australia, Austria, China, Germany, Hong Kong, Ireland, Japan, Netherlands, Switzerland, the UK and the US.