The Mobilise-D Consortium gathered in Edinburgh, Scotland on March 20, 2024 for an end-of-project conference, which turned into a day of celebration of science. The idea of putting together efforts across academia, the pharmaceutical industry, the technology sector, and clinical research came together in 2017, and the organization was named in recognition that while mobility is the 6th vital sign, our ability to assess it is very limited and lacking precision for use in research and care. (The D, of course, stands for “digital.”) 

The initiative was funded by the Innovative Medicines Initiative (IMI), Europe’s largest public-private initiative, which aims to speed the development of better and safer treatments for patients. 

Mobilise-D received funding from the IMI and did outstanding work over seven years, making great strides in demonstrating the value of digital mobility assessments across four diseases, and linking those assessments to conventional outcomes, including mortality and disability.

The consortium tackled a major public-health problem and a bottleneck for clinical-trial development: reducing and preventing mobility loss due to aging and chronic disease. Mobilise-D aimed at a very difficult goal: finding a common denominator among several conditions known to impair mobility (Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and hip fracture recovery). To identify, validate, and obtain regulatory endorsement for digital mobility outcomes across several conditions required close collaboration between academic institutions, clinical trial sponsors, and technology providers, which the consortium achieved. 

The results are more than impressive: selecting measures meaningful to patients that can be assessed digitally, conducting technical validation studies, making data and data processing algorithms publicly available, executing clinical validation studies during the pandemic (a proof that, indeed, digital mobility outcomes can be collected remotely!), and receiving regulatory feedback. Congratulations to the team and their fearless leaders: Lynn Rochester, Ronenn Roubenoff, and Daniel Rooks.

At Koneksa, we fully recognize the importance of the work done by the Mobilise-D Consortium and applaud its achievements. Our own work has demonstrated the feasibility of developing device-agnostic measures of gait and balance, the importance of performing technical validation, and the ability to conduct evidence-generating clinical studies. A Koneksa study aimed at establishing measures of sleep in multiple neurological indications and features of disease progression has achieved the first-patient-in milestone in recent weeks. We also believe in the power of partnerships: also in recent weeks, we have signed a syndication partnership agreement with Merck to develop measures in neurodegenerative disorders using data from smart phone-based assessments and wearable devices.

The goal of digital assessments is to make qualitative assessments into quantitative ones, and bring novel treatments to patients in need, by transforming how clinical trials are executed and how data are gathered, with patient-centricity in mind, by means of convenient data collection from patients’ homes. The data presented at the Mobilise-D conference shows that what was once thought impossible can be achieved, and that scientific insights will only continue to increase  based on objective data.