Tencent Starts Collecting Medical Data On U.K. Patients In Parkinson’s Trial


Chinese tech giant Tencent has started a Parkinson’s clinical trial in the UK in partnership with London startup Medopad, which has developed a smartphone app that can gather data on patients for doctors to analyse.

According to a report from The Financial Times, the duo are now testing an AI-powered app on about 40 patients over the next few months at a private mental health clinic in London called Dementech Neurosciences.

Tencent and Medopad did not immediately respond to Forbes’s request for comment.

Founded in 2011 by Dan Vahdat and Rich Khatib, Medopad has built an app that can test a patient’s cognitive abilities across a series of tasks, and pass on the results to a doctor.

“Medopad and Tencent are conducting trials to develop and validate algorithms that can potentially predict complications across a range of disease indications like Parkinson’s, cancer and heart diseases,” Medopad writes on its website.

“The Markerless Motion Capture and Analysis System (MMCAS) provides a highly accurate, real-time assessment of facial features and joint movements, identifying the frequency, range, and intensity of movement. The system is currently under clinical trial evaluation.”

There are more than 30 Medopad staff members involved on the project, and around 35 Tencent employees, according to the FT.

Last year, Medopad and Tencent jointly set up a new lab for medical AI, but Tencent is yet to officially invest in the company, the FT reports.

Medopad isn’t the only company building patient monitoring apps in the UK. DeepMind, an AI lab bought by Google in 2014, created an app called Streams which alerts NHS clinicians when patients deteriorate.

Like DeepMind, Medopad has signed a number of deals with NHS Trusts including the Royal Free in North London and Royal Wolverhampton.

Headquartered in Shenzhen, Tencent owns instant messaging and e-commerce platform WeChat, which boasts over a billion users, as well as several other companies.

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