The Entrepreneurship Hatchery  ☰ 

Speaker Series: Carolina Gorodetsky & Katheron Intson

Parkinson’s Disease (PD) is a common progressive neurodegenerative disorder causing debilitating, fluctuating motor symptoms such as tremors. Today, more than 100,000 people live with PD in Canada with 6,500 annual new cases. Patients with frequent fluctuations in their tremors require constant adjustments in oral medications. Objective continuous information regarding these symptoms may help physicians to perform more precise changes in these patients’ medical management. We are providing a continuous monitoring system that tracks tremors in people with Parkinson’s Disease. It uses motion sensors to detect the severity and timing of tremors so that a patient can show a summary report containing tremor data and missed medications to their specialist. This allows the specialist to give an objective analysis of the status of the patient, allowing them to give an appropriate medication regimen to improve their tremors.

The human genetic blueprint is made of 25,000 genes necessary for proper functioning of our body’s machinery. Mutations in these genes can lead to genetic diseases that significantly impact the lives of people and their families. While individually these diseases are collectively rare, there are over 350 million people living with “rare” genetic diseases worldwide. The management of these rare diseases is clinically challenging. A lack of known effective treatments typically leads to numerous attempts of various medications, through trial and error, typically with limited effect. This delay in effective disease management often leads to permanent disabilities and low quality of life. The treatment and development of new treatments for these conditions represents a $300 billion dollar industry. “Big data” and crowdsourced datasets represents a new avenue for identifying effective treatments in individuals with these conditions. Varient is designed to collect patient reported data on positive and negative drug effects in individuals with rare diseases. This data will lead to the identification of more effective medications already used by a subset of patients. Varient aims to streamline the process of finding the right treatment for individuals with specific genetic conditions, and act as a decision support tool for them.