Xconomy Health Tech

Business, Life Sciences, and Technology News

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

Andreessen Leads $300M Bet on Devoted Health’s Senior Care Approach

If you had more than $300 million to try and fix the healthcare industry, how would you do it?

For a startup called Devoted Health, the answer involves a combination of providing more home healthcare and support to the seniors it serves, as well as incorporating telemedicine and other technologies as part of a business model that uses more experimentation. We’ll soon see whether the approach has merit.

On Tuesday, the Waltham, MA-based company announced it raked in $300 million in a Series B funding round to implement that new approach. The round was led by well-known Silicon Valley venture firm... Read more »

Tue, 10/16/2018 - 15:52

Study: Reflexion Health Virtual Therapy System Reduces Rehab Costs

Reflexion Health, which has developed a “virtual physical therapy” system for patients recovering from surgery, said results from a randomized controlled clinical trial completed by nearly 300 people showed patients who used the technology saved an average of $2,745 compared to those who underwent traditional physical therapy.

The study, which evaluated Reflexion’s system for patients after total knee replacement surgery, was conducted in conjunction with the Duke Clinical Research Institute (DCRI), part of the Duke University School of Medicine.

The study determined the San Diego, CA-based startup’s system was as effective in reducing disability and improving knee function as traditional physical... Read more »

Mon, 10/15/2018 - 07:16

GE Abruptly Replaces CEO Flannery with Former Danaher CEO Culp

In an unexpected move, General Electric has replaced its chief executive just 16 months after appointing him.

GE (NYSE: GE) announced Monday it named H. Lawrence Culp, Jr., as CEO and chairman, immediately replacing John Flannery (pictured above). Culp has served on GE’s board since April. Before that, the 55-year-old ran Danaher (NYSE: DHR) for 14 years, during which time he helped grow the industrial conglomerate’s revenues and market value five-fold, GE said in a press release.

Larry Culp

Thomas Horton, who also joined GE’s board in April, was named lead director. He’s the... Read more »

Mon, 10/01/2018 - 05:57

ImageMoverMD Nabs Another $1.6M For Secure Patient Photo-Sharing App

ImageMoverMD, a Madison, WI-based startup developing software applications that allow clinicians and patients to securely transmit pictures and videos taken with mobile devices, has raised $1.6 million from two investors, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators.

The company has now raised more than $4.3 million since launching in 2013, according to SEC filings.

ImageMoverMD CEO Darcey Nett declined to identify the investors or answer other questions related to the financing, citing regulatory restrictions. It appears the company is still out raising money for this round, which is a mix of equity and other securities. The SEC... Read more »

Fri, 09/28/2018 - 06:33

Blink Health Ramps Up in Boston as Amazon Eyes Prescription Drugs

A few months after Amazon announced a deal to acquire Boston-area online pharmacy startup PillPack, another healthcare technology venture is growing its presence here as it attempts to shake up the retail pharmacy industry.

The newcomer is New York-based Blink Health, a four-year-old startup that enables people to buy low-cost prescription drugs online and pick them up at nearby pharmacies. Earlier this year, Blink hired local technologist Bill O’Donnell to serve as its executive vice president of engineering. Previously, he was chief software architect at Kayak and Intuit (NASDAQ: INTU), and co-founder and chief technology officer at Lola.

O’Donnell... Read more »

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 21:01

Big Pharma Seeks More Partnerships, Evidence in Digital Therapeutics

“Digital therapeutics” startups are starting to win more respect—and investment dollars—from pharmaceutical giants. But the two sides are still figuring out how to work together to capitalize on the potential for apps, devices, and other software-enabled technologies to impact patients’ health.

That’s what stood out to me the most as I listened to leaders from some of the world’s largest life sciences companies—Novartis (NYSE: NVS), Sanofi (NYSE: SNY), AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ)—talk about their firms’ interest in the nascent field of digital medicine at an industry conference, DTxDM East, held at... Read more »

Wed, 09/26/2018 - 12:19

Boston Tech Watch: Akili, Smartsheet, Tamr, Takeoff, Nanoramic & More

It’s time to catch up on some recent Boston-area tech happenings:

—Takeoff Technologies, a Waltham, MA-based developer of robotic systems for grocery order fulfillment, recently raised $24 million from investors, the company said in an e-mail to Xconomy. The Series B funding round was led by Forrestal Capital and brings the startup’s total venture capital haul to $46 million, Takeoff’s Edgar Arciniegas said. The news was first reported by the Boston Globe.

—Tamr said it tacked $10 million onto its recently announced funding round, bringing the round’s total to $28 million. The new investors include Pear Tree Partners and Granite Hill... Read more »

Wed, 09/19/2018 - 03:00

Redox Gets $3M for Tools That Help Hospitals, App Makers Share Data

Redox, a Madison, WI-based startup that develops digital tools enabling healthcare applications to exchange data with patient health records systems, has raised $3 million in debt funding, according to a document filed with federal securities regulators.

Twelve investors participated in the financing round, according to the document. Redox has raised more than $15.8 million in equity and debt funding since launching in 2014, SEC filings show. Its backers include .406 Ventures, Flybridge Capital Partners, HealthX Ventures, and Intermountain Healthcare, according to previous company announcements.

Redox’s core product is an application programming interface (API) that lets healthcare applications move information into... Read more »

Tue, 09/04/2018 - 12:02

Boston Tech Watch: Humana, SmartBear, Nexamp, Veritas & More

This week in Boston tech, we’re tracking a massive healthcare analytics acquisition, a new technology incubator from health insurer Humana, a Mitsubishi subsidiary’s latest investments in the local energy sector, and more deals. Read on for details.

—Verscend Technologies said it completed its $4.9 billion acquisition of Atlanta-based Cotiviti (NYSE: COTV), a union of companies providing healthcare data analytics and services to insurers and other clients. The combined will go by Cotiviti, according to a press release.

Waltham, MA-based Verscend was previously known as Verisk Health. It was sold two years ago by Verisk Analytics (NASDAQ: VRSK) to private... Read more »

Thu, 08/30/2018 - 21:01

Foxconn Creates $100M Venture Fund With Three Top WI Businesses

Foxconn Technology Group continues to make its presence felt in the Wisconsin business community. The latest move: The Taiwanese contract manufacturer is forming a $100 million early-stage venture capital fund with three of the Badger State’s leading companies and organizations.

Advocate Aurora Health, Northwestern Mutual, Johnson Controls, and Foxconn will each contribute $25 million to the fund, according to a press release. The fund will invest in startups located around the world that are developing products and services for the partners’ respective sectors—healthcare, financial services, manufacturing, and technology.

Advocate Aurora Health, formed this year through the merger of Wisconsin-based Aurora... Read more »

Tue, 08/28/2018 - 16:13

Grand Angels Kicks Off Third Fund Targeting $25M to Seed Startups

Grand Angels, the West Michigan angel investing collective, is raising a third venture fund, called Grand Angels Venture Fund III.

Paul D’Amato, a member of the group and the manager of GA Fund III, says the goal is to raise $25 million. As in previous Grand Angels funds, it will focus on advancing startups working in advanced manufacturing and materials, agricultural and food tech, life sciences, and software. GA Fund III plans to deploy investments valued between $250,000 and $500,000 per company.

Although angel investing has become increasingly popular in Michigan over the past few years, D’Amato says there is... Read more »

Mon, 08/27/2018 - 02:17

Get Physical: Houston’s Kanthaka Offers Personal Trainers in an Hour

Houston—The excuses can come easy when it comes to exercising regularly. Kanthaka founder and CEO Sylvie Kampshoff wants to eliminate one of the most common: people can’t commit to a schedule.

Kanthaka is an Uber-style service for finding personal trainers: users can book a session (nearly) on-demand, giving just one hour of notice. The app was born from Kampshoff’s own experience as a corporate attorney with a hectic work schedule. A regular weekly appointment with a trainer at a local gym went unused. “Fitness was super-important to me, but I couldn’t get my workouts in,” she says.

On Kanthaka—named for... Read more »

Fri, 08/24/2018 - 13:22

TraceLink Bags $93M, Plans A.I. & Blockchain Tools for Drug Tracking

Step one for TraceLink, a maker of software that helps track the supply chain of pharmaceuticals, was recruiting hundreds of thousands of companies and organizations to its digital platform.

Now, much like the playbooks of social media companies and other tech firms, step two will be to develop “new applications on top of that infrastructure”—thereby taking advantage of “the information and the network that we’ve built to drive even greater value for our customers” says TraceLink CEO Shabbir Dahod.

A new cash infusion might help the company in that endeavor. On Tuesday, the North Reading, MA-based firm announced it closed a... Read more »

Tue, 08/21/2018 - 10:56

Best Buy Acquires GTCR’s GreatCall for $800M, Eyeing Aging Boomers

Best Buy is paying $800 million in cash for GreatCall, a San Diego-based healthtech company which private equity firm GTCR bought early last year.

GreatCall operates a virtual mobile telecommunications network for a customers base of more than 900,000 elderly consumers. The company also sells gadgets, such as mobile devices with large screens and big buttons, wearables that can work with those devices, and emergency alert products. The company operates call centers that help elderly customers use the GreatCall’s technology, can dispatch emergency personnel, and can connect the customer to family caregivers, among other services.

Minnesota-based Best Buy (NYSE: BBY... Read more »

Wed, 08/15/2018 - 16:05

Fifth Eye Scores $2.3M for Software to Detect Patient Warning Signs

Jen Baird, a serial entrepreneur who has led several Michigan-based healthcare technology startups, is back at it with Fifth Eye, an Ann Arbor, MI-based company developing software that performs analytics on patient data. Investors so far like what they see in the young venture: Fifth Eye has just raised $2.3 million in seed funding from Invest Michigan, the Biosciences Research and Commercialization Center at Western Michigan University, and 33 angel investors.

Fifth Eye’s software is designed to act as an early warning system capable of detecting when a patient might be in serious trouble, based on their electrocardiogram... Read more »

Fri, 08/10/2018 - 05:56

Boston Tech Watch: Drizly, Skyworks, Polaris, Akili, Kebotix & More

Time to catch up on some of the latest deals and developments in the Boston-area tech sector:

—Skyworks Solutions (NASDAQ: SWKS), the Woburn, MA-based chipmaker, said it inked a deal to acquire Avnera, a Beaverton, OR-based maker of semiconductors designed to minimize power consumption and enable voice-controlled devices and software. Skyworks will pay $405 million in cash, plus up to $20 million more if certain performance milestones are exceeded during the 12 months following the deal’s closure. The transaction is expected to close by the end of the month, according to a press release.

Thu, 08/09/2018 - 21:01

CVS, Teladoc Offering $59 Virtual Health Visits for Minor Conditions

CVS Health on Wednesday introduced a new telemedicine service for people with minor illnesses and injuries, which the Rhode Island-based pharmacy giant says will allow patients in nine U.S. states and Washington, D.C., to pay $59 for an online videoconference with a licensed healthcare professional.

CVS (NYSE: CVS), which bestrides the healthcare and retail industries, has recently been ramping up the technology-enabled services it offers. Earlier this year, the company introduced a program in partnership with Boston-based software startup Buoy Health that allows patients to provide information online about their symptoms and health history before getting checked out at one... Read more »

Wed, 08/08/2018 - 12:54

HealthMyne, Developer of Health Records Analytics Software, Adds $15M

HealthMyne, a Madison, WI-based startup developing software that integrates medical imaging data and information from patients’ electronic health records, says it has raised $15 million in new funding.

Ascension Ventures, an investment arm of the St. Louis-based healthcare provider Ascension, led the Series B funding round, HealthMyne says. Other participants included two Madison-based VC Funds (Venture Investors and 4490 Ventures) and the Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation, which manages patents and the licensing of intellectual property for the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

HealthMyne says its software can help radiologists, oncologists, and other users track changes in a tumor or nodule’s... Read more »

Thu, 08/02/2018 - 14:09

Alector Snags $133M to Activate Immune Cells Against Neurodegeneration

Pharmaceutical companies have been working for years to find a drug that could break up the toxic clusters of proteins associated with Alzheimer’s disease and other neurodegenerative disorders. Many of those companies have suffered disappointing failures by targeting those clusters head-on. Now a Bay Area biotechnology company, Alector, is ready to try tackling the problem from a different angle— energizing immune system cells, the body’s natural clean-up crew, to clear away the debris.

South San Francisco-based Alector announced today that it raised $133 million in a Series E fundraising round, and unveiled the first three immune system-modulating antibodies in its... Read more »

Wed, 07/25/2018 - 04:00