Addressing Depression from All Angles
Northwestern University is attacking depression, an oft-debilitating condition estimated to affect 6–10 percent of the U.S. population each year, from a trio of angles—therapeutics, diagnosis, and monitoring. Researcher Joe Moskal (McCormick) led the recent charge with Rapastinel, the signature drug at his Northwestern startup Naurex. Developed to combat major depressive disorder, Rapastinel entered Phase 3 trials this past summer, about one year after global pharmaceutical giant Allergan acquired Naurex in a deal that included a $560 million upfront payment. In previous trials, the drug captured attention as a fasteracting, longer-lasting alternative to current depression therapeutics, while also carrying fewer side effects.
Eva Redei (Feinberg), meanwhile, continues her encouraging research into depression biomarkers, heightening the potential of qualitative analysis for a condition long hampered by the limits of quantitative diagnosis. Redei’s biomarkers research has displayed promising potential to identify depression’s biological links and accelerate the path to—and perhaps even the acceptance of—helpful interventions.
Spurred by the work of David Mohr (Feinberg), IntelliCare tackles three of the most frequent impediments to treatment of depression and anxiety—access, affordability, and stigma—with a suite of 14 free mobile apps. The patent-pending platform targets the common causes of depression and anxiety, such as sleep problems, lack of activity, and social isolation. During a recently closed eight-week field study, nearly 100 IntelliCare subjects used the apps consistently and showed measurable improvement. IntelliCare is now in the midst of a randomized clinical trial and continues fielding potential partnership opportunities from both private and public healthcare providers.