Akili to Advance Potential Video Game-Based Therapies for MS, Other Disorders

Jose Marques Lopes, PhD avatar

by Jose Marques Lopes, PhD |

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Akili digital platform development

Akili Interactive announced it has received a $55 million in financing to develop a digital platform to possibly treat people with cognitive impairment associated with diseases like multiple sclerosis (MS).

The company is focused on creating products with therapeutic potential based on high-quality video game experiences.

The financing was led by the investment company Temasek. Other investors include Baillie Gifford, Amgen Ventures, M Ventures — a fund of Merck KGaA, known as EMD Serono in the U.S. and Canada — JAZZ Venture Partners, Canepa Healthcare, and Brooklands Capital Strategies.

“We are fortunate to be supported by such experienced investors, who bring successful long-term track records in innovative technology, medical device and pharmaceutical investment,” Eddie Martucci, Akili’s co-founder and CEO, said in a press release.

“We are thrilled with the vote of confidence in the potential of our technology platform to redefine healthcare,” he added.

This funding follows the publication of top-line results from a multicenter, pivotal trial (NCT02674633) evaluating a video-like digital therapy, AKL-T01, in 348 children and adolescents with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which Akili reported in a December 2017 release. AKL-T01 uses Akili’s technology platform to deliver therapeutic activity through action video game experience.

The company will use the new funding to advance its pipeline of prescription digital treatment candidates, including AKL-T01, and also to proceed with the development of potential therapies for MS and depression. Akili also aims to expand its product pipeline.

Planning is underway to request that AKL-T01 be cleared for use by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). If approved, it would be the first digital therapy for pediatric ADHD.

Other upcoming plans include the presentation of results from a pilot trial of AKL-T03, another digital treatment candidate, in treating cognitive dysfunction in MS, and from a Phase 2 trial of cognitive dysfunction in adults with depression. The company also expects to announce results from a clinical trial of AKL-T02 in high-functioning children with autism spectrum disorders.

Akili is currently recruiting participants for a trial testing AKL-T03 as an adjunct therapy to antidepressant medications on cognitive deficits linked with major depressive disorder (NCT03310281).

In April 2018, Akili announced it was granted U.S. and Japan patents protecting the foundational mechanics of these investigational products, as well as its product platform for cognitive dysfunction.