iRhythm Technologies has teamed-up with Alphabet-owned Verily over the development of solutions aimed at improving the screening, diagnosis and management of patients with atrial fibrillation (AFib). This collaboration brings together iRhythm’s expertise in AI-based arrhythmia diagnosis and Verily’s advanced health data analytics technologies to address the millions of patients living with undiagnosed AFib.
AFib is associated with a five-fold increase in the risk of stroke as compared to those without AFib, with these strokes tending to be more severe and associated with higher mortality rates. For approximately 20% of individuals who experience a stroke due to AFib, the occurrence of AFib was not diagnosed until the time of their stroke or shortly afterward. Further, an estimated one-third of those who have AFib are not aware they have it. Asymptomatic or “silent” AFib is associated with certain risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes and sleep apnea – which increase an individual’s likelihood for developing the disorder.
The iRhythm and Verily collaboration aims to address this significant, underserved population at risk for asymptomatic or silent AFib. Under the terms of the agreement, iRhythm and Verily plan to collaborate on solutions capable of providing earlier warnings, enabling the identification and management of patients that could otherwise go undiagnosed until they have a cardiac event, such as a stroke.
Clinical research is demonstrating a major unmet need in the market for this early warning approach. At the annual meeting of the American College of Cardiology in May, the first phase of the mSToPS study, published in JAMA, showed that patients who were diagnosed with AFib in iRhythm’s Zio service-monitored group had a significantly lower rate of hospitalizations and emergency room visits than the non-monitored control group.
“We are excited to partner with iRhythm, a pioneer in ambulatory cardiac monitoring, to find innovative ways to deliver more efficient care to patients with atrial fibrillation,” Dr. Jessica Mega, chief medical and scientific officer of Verily, said in a statement. “With the high prevalence of cardiovascular-related health issues, we have an opportunity to not only improve how we diagnose, manage and monitor conditions like atrial fibrillation, but also develop patient-centric solutions that could ultimately prevent serious cardiac events.”
Under the terms of the agreement, iRhythm will make an upfront payment to Verily of $5 million and potential milestone payments of up to $12.75 million upon the achievement of various development and regulatory milestones.