In a recent presentation, Winterlight Labs Inc, Toronto-based speech analytics and digital biomarker company shared the initial results of their collaborative R&D project with Genentech, a member of the Roche Group.

This study utilizes speech recordings from the Tauriel, a Phase 2 study investigating the anti-tau antibody semorinemab in prodromal-to-mild Alzheimer’s disease, to explore speech-based digital biomarkers to monitor cognitive changes. At theh 2021 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference (AAIC), the initial results were presented during a virtual oral session of the Neuropsychiatry and Behavioral Neurology Society.

According to Liam Kaufman, CEO, and co-founder of Winterlight Labs, “We believe there is tremendous potential for these novel biomarkers to improve the way clinical trials are run. We are excited about this opportunity to work with Genentech’s clinical trial data and leverage the expertise of their clinical and informatics teams in our biomarker development efforts.”

Winterlight and Genentech teams studied clinical recordings of the Clinical Dementia Rating Scale (CDR) completed by participants. During the study, they examined the effects of both linguistic and acoustic content on the severity of the disease. Multiple measures of cognitive decline were associated with the structure and complexity of language in the initial studies.

CDRs, the current endpoint used in clinical trials, are complex, expensive, and not sensitive enough to detect gradual cognitive changes over time. Winterlight developed objective tools to generate novel, sensitive endpoints that can be administered remotely and at a low burden to patients since verbal competency and language are both ecologically meaningful and fully functional indicators of disease progression.