Xconomy Health Tech

Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News

After 33 Exits in 5 Years, WI Seeks “More and Bigger” Startup Deals

When Propeller Health’s founders initially tried to raise funding for their new healthcare technology venture, many of the investors they spoke with were hesitant to take the risk.

It was the early part of this decade, and Propeller was navigating the FDA’s regulatory process for medical devices. The company believed it had a chance to become one of the first to earn market clearance from the agency for a software product, says Propeller co-founder and CEO David Van Sickle. Propeller’s idea for a so-called “digital therapeutic” involved equipping prescription inhalers with sensors and an Internet connection. That way, patients with... Read more »

Wed, 01/16/2019 - 05:52

Report: After a Boffo 2018, VC Deals in Digital Health May Flatten

Investments in digital health startups totaled $8.1 billion in 2018, a record year that marked a 42 percent increase over 2017’s total, according to a report released this week by Rock Health. But the report’s authors say it’s unlikely that venture capital investments in digital health, an area that encompasses the use of software and technology to try to improve care and lower costs, will continue growing at such a brisk pace.

“We wouldn’t be surprised to see venture funding for digital health flatten somewhat over the next few years,” writes the team behind the report at San Francisco-based Rock... Read more »

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 09:44

WI Watchlist: Northwestern Mutual, Epic, Exact Sciences, Propeller

It’s time to catch up on notable headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—Northwestern Mutual, the Milwaukee-based insurance and wealth management services giant, has hired Souheil Badran as chief innovation officer. Badran was previously president of the Americas region for Alipay, the online payments platform operated by Ant Financial, the Alibaba-owned fintech firm.

Badran’s new role was previously held by Alexa von Tobel, the well-known fintech entrepreneur who left Northwestern Mutual this month to become managing partner of Inspired Capital, an early-stage technology venture firm based in New York that is raising $200 million for its debut fund, according to... Read more »

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 07:29

Providence Ventures Raises $150M to Invest in Healthtech Startups

Providence Ventures, the venture investing arm of Renton, WA-based health system Providence St. Joseph Health, says it has raised a $150 million fund to invest in early- and mid-stage healthcare technology businesses.

The venture firm says it will consider making investments across several areas of digital health, including healthcare information technology and Internet-connected medical devices. Providence Ventures says it expects to invest between $5 million and $15 million in each company it backs.

The firm’s parent organization, Providence St. Joseph Health, operates 51 hospitals and 829 clinics across several U.S. states, and estimates it covers 2.1 million patients, according to... Read more »

Wed, 01/09/2019 - 13:54

From Alnylam to Zayner: Xconomy’s Top Innovation Stories of 2018

2018 was a year of ups and downs for the business and technology community. It was a year of big exits—both IPOs and acquisitions—for tech and life sciences companies. Venture funding remained strong, but more money went to fewer (and later-stage) companies overall. As the year winds down, we’re reflecting on the big innovation trends and developments that will carry over to next year.

Storylines in various sectors helped shape the overall narrative in 2018. Cell and gene therapies, cancer immunotherapy, and digital medicines made substantial progress in healthcare. Artificial intelligence and cybersecurity remained front and center in tech, as new... Read more »

Thu, 12/27/2018 - 05:30

WI Watchlist: Lame-Duck Bills, Johnson Controls, EmOpti & More

With the holidays approaching, it’s time to catch up on some recent headlines from Wisconsin’s innovation community:

—Republican Gov. Scott Walker signed controversial lame-duck legislation that, among other things, limits the power of his Democratic successor, Tony Evers, who will take office in January. The legislation includes a measure that initially gives the state legislature more control over the board of the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. (WEDC)—the quasi-public economic development group that oversees programs including funding for startups and tax incentives for private venture investments—and temporarily removes the governor’s ability to appoint the head of the WEDC, giving that authority to... Read more »

Thu, 12/20/2018 - 09:30

Pear Therapeutics App Gets FDA Nod for Treating Opioid Abuse

Doctors and other caregivers have a new weapon to combat the opioid epidemic. But it’s not a pharmaceutical drug—it’s a mobile app.

This week, the FDA cleared “reSET-O,” an app developed by “digital therapeutics” startup Pear Therapeutics, for sale in the U.S. as a treatment for patients recovering from opioid abuse disorder. Doctors can now prescribe the app to help treat the disorder by delivering cognitive behavioral therapy, specifically a series of interactive therapy lessons modeled on the Community Reinforcement Approach, a widely used approach to treat substance abuse.

The Pear app is intended to be used in tandem with... Read more »

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 15:06

Alto Lands $50M as Pharmacy Sector Embraces E-Commerce Lessons

The pharmacy industry’s transformation is accelerating, as traditional drug retailers strike deals to expand their businesses and fend off technology startups encroaching on their territory.

The latest salvo in the increasingly competitive sector is a $50 million investment in Alto Pharmacy, a San Francisco-based “digital pharmacy” startup that has offices in Denver. Like others in its industry, Alto offers online ordering and delivery (including same-day delivery) of prescription drugs.

Alto launched in 2015 under the name ScriptDash Pharmacy, initially offering a mobile app-enabled prescription delivery service in the San Francisco Bay Area. In conjunction with a $23 million venture investment it... Read more »

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 11:03

Enzyme Health Adds $1.7M for Clinician Telemedicine Job Marketplace

Austin—A new telehealth-focused startup, Enzyme Health, has raised a $1.7 million seed funding round to build out its marketplace for doctors and nurse practitioners looking for new online gigs.

Enzyme Health connects clinicians with the companies that provide telemedicine services to patients, with the aim of helping doctors and nurse practitioners find more freelance work at those businesses. The startup already works with telemedicine companies, including Doctor on Demand (which itself raised a $74 million round of financing earlier this year), MDLive, and Parsley Health, among others.

The Austin-based company uses machine learning algorithms to match doctors and nurse... Read more »

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 14:27

ResMed Boosts Connected Health Play With $225M Propeller Health Deal

ResMed has inked a $225 million deal to acquire Propeller Health, in the latest endorsement of Internet-connected devices for healthcare.

The acquisition, which is expected to close by the end of March 2019, continues San Diego-based ResMed’s (NYSE: RMD) “connected healthcare” push that began about five years ago, as Xconomy chronicled last year. The medical device company, with a $16 billion market capitalization, is best known for making continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines that help people manage sleep apnea, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and other respiratory conditions. In recent years it has been investing in software capabilities,... Read more »

Mon, 12/03/2018 - 10:49

Amazon Wants to Help Doctors and Patients Process Healthcare Data

Amazon intends to wade deeper into healthcare. The company announced Tuesday that it is working with groups in the industry to help them make sense of unstructured medical data using Amazon’s software tools.

The Seattle e-commerce and technology giant unveiled what it calls Amazon Comprehend Medical, which the company says could help hospitals, clinics, and other healthcare organizations process patient information more quickly to glean new insights and, ideally, improve care.

Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) has laid out an ambitious vision for the product. Although the company has proven itself adept at building massive businesses in multiple sectors, such as retail... Read more »

Wed, 11/28/2018 - 15:36

GreatCall Expands Lyft Partnership to Pick Up Seniors Nationwide

GreatCall, the maker of the Jitterbug cellphone and other products and services for older adults, has extended its partnership with the San Francisco-based ride-hailing company Lyft to offer GreatCall customers the ability to schedule rides without a smartphone app. No financial terms were disclosed.

The San Diego-based healthtech company said Tuesday it is rolling out GreatCall Rides nationally, after testing it with customers in California, Florida, Arizona, and the Chicago and Dallas/Fort Worth areas for more than two years, since August of 2016.

GreatCall was acquired by Minnesota-based Best Buy (NYSE: BBY) earlier this year from private equity firm GTCR... Read more »

Tue, 11/13/2018 - 06:00

Veritas, Elliott Strike $5.7B Deal for Athenahealth

[Updated 11/12/18, 10:31 am, with deal terms.] Athenahealth has reached an agreement to be bought for approximately $5.7 billion in cash by private equity firms Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital, an affiliate of activist hedge fund Elliott Management.

The acquisition was announced Monday morning. Reuters first reported the deal Sunday and said an official announcement was imminent. The agreement values the Watertown, MA-based healthcare IT company’s shares (NASDAQ: ATHN) at $135 apiece. Athenahealth’s shares ended Friday trading at $120.35. They were up more than 9 percent Monday morning, trading around $131.70 after news of the sale broke.... Read more »

Mon, 11/12/2018 - 05:04

WI Watchlist: Froedtert, Gener8tor, Fujifilm Cellular Dynamics, Exact

It’s been a busy week for Wisconsin’s innovation community, with entrepreneurship events taking place statewide for Startup Wisconsin Week (check out highlights on Twitter). Here are some of the other headlines from the past week:

—Wauwatosa-based Froedtert Health, which runs a network of hospitals and clinics and is affiliated with the Medical College of Wisconsin, has committed an additional $15 million to investing in healthcare technology startups, according to the Milwaukee Business Journal. Since 2015, Froedtert has invested in startups through a subsidiary called Inception Health, which has backed companies located around the country. Froedtert has committed at least... Read more »

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 22:01

Nominations Open for San Diego’s Inaugural Xconomy Awards

Hundreds of companies. Dozens of research institutes. Billions of dollars in economic impact.

San Diego is one of the top U.S. cities for innovation in life sciences and healthtech. Researchers and entrepreneurs here are leaders in developing the next generation of medicines and medical devices. In doing so, they are revealing new insights from our genomes, coming up with new data analytics tools, and applying digital advances to improve health.

To celebrate this innovation in San Diego— in the life sciences, as well as at the intersection of its science and technology ecosystems—we are launching the first ever Xconomy Awards San... Read more »

Thu, 11/08/2018 - 08:13

ResMed To Add To Software Offerings With $750M MatrixCare Acquisition

Medical device maker ResMed has agreed to acquire Minnesota-based MatrixCare, which makes software for long-term care providers, for $750 million.

San Diego’s ResMed (NYSE: ticker[[RMD]]) announced its intention to buy the privately held tech company on Monday. The purchase price is 25 times MatrixCare’s pro forma 2018 earnings of about $30 million (without taking into account interest, taxes, depreciation or amortization) on anticipated net revenue of about $122 million.

ResMed, which brought in net income of $315.6 million on revenues of $2.3 billion in its most recent fiscal year, is best known for making continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) machines that help... Read more »

Mon, 11/05/2018 - 18:39

Nurse Staffing Startup Gets $10.8M as Personnel Ratios Hit MA Ballot

IntelyCare, a Massachusetts-based nurse-staffing platform for long-term care, assisted living, and rehabilitation facilities, has raised $10.8 million from venture investors, less than a week before voters weigh in on a new state mandate hospital for patient-to-nurse ratios.

San Francisco firm Leerink Revelation Partners led the Series A funding round and was joined by Longmeadow Capital, LRVHealth, and entrepreneur Bill Mantzoukas. Last year, Quincy, MA-based IntelyCare raised $3 million through debt financing and other securities, according to filings with regulators.

IntelyCare says its artificial intelligence technology automates scheduling and filling shifts at post-acute care facilities, such as rehabilitation facilities, skilled nursing... Read more »

Thu, 11/01/2018 - 03:00

Cuida Health Launches Voice-Based ‘Social Wellness’ App for Seniors

Lisa doesn’t interrupt. She doesn’t mind long pauses between responses. And she has a sense of humor.

Oh – and, she’s virtual.

San Diego startup Cuida Health, a recent graduate of the Connect Springboard accelerator program, this week launched its first product: a voice-activated “social wellness” app for seniors.

For the past four months, about 40 people in their mid-60s to mid-80s have been testing the virtual assistant, named LiSA for “Learning Interface for Senior Adults.” The mobile app lets seniors stay in touch with others and to search for information on the Web regardless of their technical ability, dexterity or... Read more »

Fri, 10/26/2018 - 17:12

Medisafe to Get Paid For Health App’s Performance

More technology startups are embracing the healthcare industry’s increasing willingness to pay for products based on how much they improve health.

One of the latest examples comes from Medisafe, a Boston company that has developed an app-based system intended to help patients manage their medications. The company offers both a free and a paid version of the app, but most patients use the free version, a spokesperson says. Medisafe generates revenue primarily from pharmaceutical companies, such as Merck (NYSE: MRK) and Boehringer Ingelheim, who fund the app’s usage in order to receive anonymized data that could help them understand... Read more »

Wed, 10/24/2018 - 09:25

Entrepreneurs Thinking Inside the Box

Hackathons usually involve thinking outside of the box. But for myself and four other MIT students, brainstorming, eating, and sleeping inside a 16-foot by 16-foot glass cube on campus for four days straight in mid-September proved just as effective at getting our creative juices flowing.

The experience was part of InCube 2018, a global startup pitch competition organized by the ETH Entrepreneurship Club. We met for the first time the week before, and we were competing against four other cubes in Switzerland to solve a challenge.

Being contained in the same small space encouraged us to stay productive around the... Read more »

Fri, 10/19/2018 - 05:45