Tel Aviv and Herzliya, Israel — Based on data from the Sequenced Treatment Alternatives to Relieve Depression (STAR*D) study, one of the largest-ever clinical trials for depression, a startup called Taliaz is helping physicians pick the right antidepressant therapy off the bat, sidestepping what can become taxing trial and error. PREDICTIX, Taliaz’s AI-powered decision tool, uses algorithms derived from genetic, environmental, neurological and clinical data to predict outcomes and adverse effects of each therapeutic option on a given patient. In its current iteration, PREDICTIX predictions are nearly 75% accurate.
“With a simple, non-invasive test, we collect a patient’s DNA sample alongside his or her demographic and clinical history via an online questionnaire,” CEO Dr. Dekel Taliaz told Forbes. “PREDICTIX then provides predictive information about antidepressant drugs and recommends the ones best suited to each patient’s genetic makeup and health record.”
Dr. Adil Jawad, a psychiatrist based in the United Kingdom, used PREDICTIX in his practice and noted that, “One of our patients who had not responded to four antidepressants reported that after starting the medication recommended by the PREDICTIX test three weeks previous is now feeling like ‘I’m a different person’ and ‘I feel 80% better in myself.’” With many, mechanistically different therapies available in this disease state—which is widely considered the biggest health problem in the world — the earlier the right medications are identified, the less many patients will suffer.
Another startup, Herzliya-based Elminda, also helps doctors select the optimal antidepressant, and on top of that it enables doctors to track the impact of the drug—directly in their patients’ brains. Elminda was recently awarded a €2.8 million grant to bring its technology to European health systems.
Why This Matters
Artificial intelligence is behind the recent profusion of digital health products, but its application to mental health illuminates a new frontier. As the tech becomes increasingly sophisticated, it will be able to help more people bolster their psychological wellbeing—and faster. Quickly, patient expectations are evolving: in nearly all aspects of their lives, people anticipate comprehensive solutions to deliver their sought-after relief.