TORONTO, October 4, 2022
Winterlight Labs, a developer of digital biomarkers for the analysis of speech and language in neurological conditions, and Genentech, a member of the Roche Group, have announced new data showing the sensitivity of speech-based digital measures in detecting disease-related longitudinal change in Alzheimer’s disease.
Using data from Genentech’s Tauriel trial of semorinemab in early-stage Alzheimer’s disease (NCT03289143), these analyses provide new evidence that automated measures for assessing patient speech can characterize longitudinal decline with comparable sensitivity to clinician-administered neuropsychological assessments. Digital measures can allow for better characterization of speech and language patterns, improved insight into the effects of novel treatments, and could support a shift to more hybrid or remote trial designs.
In this analysis, Winterlight’s speech-based digital biomarker platform processed recordings of conventional administrations of the Clinical Dementia Rating (CDR) from 101 patients in the Tauriel trial and generated more than 500 acoustic and linguistic markers. Selected markers that indicate progressive change were combined into a composite speech score and compared to standard clinical endpoints.
The composite speech score demonstrated a similar utility in detecting longitudinal changes compared to the CDR Sum of Boxes rating and the Alzheimer’s Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale. The findings indicated a more significant longitudinal effect than the Repeatable Battery for the Assessment of Neuropsychological Status test and the language subscales of the Alzheimer's Disease Assessment Scale-Cognitive Subscale (ADAS-Cog) measuring word-finding difficulty and spoken language ability.
Jessica Robin, Director, Clinical Research at Winterlight Labs, said: “Given the crucial role that language changes play in Alzheimer’s, automated language processing represents a new tool to characterize speech and language patterns and provide additional insight into a patient’s condition. We’ve worked to streamline the process of implementing automated tools into research, allowing for low-burden assessments suitable for remote testing that can help demonstrate how language changes because of disease progression or therapeutic interventions. Collaborating with Genentech to analyze speech samples from a well-characterized, longitudinal trial cohort has enabled us to advance the study of language changes in Alzheimer’s.”
Winterlight Labs is commercializing a proprietary language-based diagnostic system that analyzes natural speech to detect and monitor dementia, Alzheimer’s, aphasia, and various other cognitive conditions. Winterlight's scalable platform uses short recorded speech samples to analyze hundreds of linguistic cues, and can detect dementia and other conditions with a high level of accuracy. This is a major improvement over current pencil-and-paper tests which are time-consuming, costly, and difficult to administer. The platform has applications in drug trials, long-term and primary care, and speech-language pathology.
Since its founding, Winterlight Labs has seen strong interest from pharmaceutical companies and other potential partners who view the technology as a major improvement over current methods of detection or screening. The company has gained support from the pan-Canadian AGE-WELL Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE), the Ontario Brain Institute, Ontario Centres of Excellence, and the University of Toronto Banting and Best Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship. For more information, visit www.winterlightlabs.com.
Liam Kaufman, CEO
liam [at] winterlightlabs.com