GlaxoSmithKline taps Apple’s ResearchKit for an arthritis study

A year and change after first showing off ResearchKit, Apple has finally found a big name drug company partner for its medical research platform. GlaxoSmithKline, the camel-cased conglomerate behind such pharmaceutical hits as Wellbutrin and Levitra, has signed on with the service to conduct rheumatoid arthritis research.

The firm is looking to study 300 participants over the course of three months through its ResearchKit-based app. The programs asks users to record their mood and report any physical symptoms, along with a wrist exercise that utilizes the iPhone’s movement sensors to detect progress.

Glaxo is using this initial trial to test efficacy and engagement of the non-traditional platform, determining whether a mobile app will prove a compelling alternative for clinical trials.

As the first major trial of its kind, the arthritis study is also being viewed by many as a major test for Apple’s ResearchKit platform, which has already been implemented for a number of different studies, ranging from epilepsy to autism. This research, however, marks the first big study by a major drugmaker.