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J&J, Apple To Collaborate In Research Study Involving Apple Watch

Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) said that its subsidiary Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc., will collaborate with Apple Inc. (AAPL) in a research study to investigate whether a new heart health program using an app from Johnson in combination with Apple Watch's irregular rhythm notifications and ECG app can improve health outcomes of people with atrial fibrillation or AFib.

The two companies will collaborate to assess the impact of wearable technology on earlier detection of AFib, improved diagnosis and patient outcomes.

About 33 million people worldwide are living with AFib, a condition that can lead to stroke and other potentially devastating complications. In the U.S. alone, AFib is responsible for approximately 130,000 deaths and 750,000 hospitalizations every year.

The study aims to analyze the impact of Apple Watch on the early detection and diagnosis of AFib, and the potential to improve outcomes including the prevention of stroke.

AFib is an irregular heartbeat that can lead to the formation of blood clots resulting in stroke, heart failure and other potentially devastating complications. It is the most common sustained arrhythmia, increases stroke risk five-fold, and accounts for almost one-third of all strokes.

Because blood clots formed in the heart can be large, AFib-caused strokes tend to damage large areas of the brain, which typically leads to a higher risk of death, significant damage and increased cost of treatment and care.

Apple and Johnson & Johnson said that a multi-year research program will be launched later in 2019. This large-scale program, which will occur in the U.S. only, will be designed as a pragmatic randomized controlled research study for individuals aged 65 years or older.

The study's goals include measuring the outcomes of a heart health engagement program with irregular rhythm notifications on Apple Watch, and assessing the impact of a medication adherence program using an app from Johnson & Johnson.

"We're excited about the potential of common, wearable technology to aid in the earlier detection and prevention of a frequent cause of stroke. Too many people living with AFib are unaware of their risk, and earlier detection, diagnosis and treatment of AFib could significantly improve outcomes," said Paul Stoffels, Vice Chair of the Executive Committee and Chief Scientific Officer, Johnson & Johnson.

Johnson & Johnson noted that its recent mHealth Screening to Prevent Strokes or mSTOPs study demonstrated that earlier screening leads to increased AFib detection.

"Utilizing wristwatch-based optical heart sensor and ECG monitoring is a logical evolution of this research and may also lead to increased AFib diagnosis and improved clinical outcomes for patients," said Paul Burton, Vice President, Medical Affairs, Internal Medicine, Janssen Scientific Affairs, LLC.

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