Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I talk about Andreessen Horowtiz’s new ventures and the reemergence of Tiger Global in Health Tech. Some big deals for Episode 237: Medable receives 304 million in Series D bringing their total up to $521 million; Zerigo health gets $43 million, bringing their total up to $67 million; Click Therapeutics receives 52 million, but with side deals their total rises to $100 million; Workit Health gets $112 million, bringing their total to $138 million. Among Horowtiz’s new ventures, Patina gets 57 million despite not having launched yet, and Marley Medical gets $9 million. – Matthew Holt
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Jess and I catch up after HLTH 2021. Some massive deals in Episode 356: Oak Street acquires Rubicon MD for 190 million, 130 in cash; 23andMe acquires Lemonade (a virtual care and drug delivery company) for 400 million – 300 million in stocks and 100 million in cash; Babylon Health’s SPAC deal, 4.2 billion in market cap now; Everlywell acquires Natalist – their third acquisition in 6 months. – Matthew Holt
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Healthcare startups serving the Medicaid population are FINALLY catching the attention of investors and, this time, it’s for improving access to mental health services. Brave Health’s CEO Anna Lindow and I catch up in-person at HLTH 2021 – under super-secret embargo – to talk about Brave’s $10M Series B funding which was just announced today.
We get into Brave Health’s virtual-first approach to therapy, psychiatry, and outpatient addiction services, its tech underpinnings (which Anna hopes makes her services feel like “magic” to patients and providers alike), and the best-and-most-challenging parts about working with Medicaid plans.
This funding round, which takes Brave Health’s total funding to over $20M, should help with surmounting one of Anna’s biggest challenges: the extra effort required to expand to new states and the new set of Medicaid requirements and regulations that meet her every time she crosses state lines. Still, Brave Health has already expanded into 10 states in two years and, when utilized by Medicaid case managers, providers, and plans, is making a real impact on outcomes and cost of care. We dive into the details about meeting the mental health needs of a population that has typically been misunderstood and marginalized, and talk more about the nuances of supporting innovation and investment in solutions for people with Medicaid.
By KIM BELLARD
Six hundred years ago, Swiss physician/scientist/philosopher Paracelsus disclaimed: “Medicine is not only a science; it is also an art.” Medicine, most people in healthcare still believe, takes not just intelligence and fact-based decision-making, but also intuition, creativity, and empathy. This duality is often cited as a reason artificial intelligence (A.I.) will never replace human physicians.
Perhaps those skeptics have not heard about Ai-Da.
Now, I have to admit, “she” wasn’t on my radar either until recently, when she was imprisoned/impounded at customs by Egyptian authorities on her way to an art exhibit at the Great Pyramids of Giza, where she was scheduled to show her work. Egyptian authorities first objected to her modem, then to the cameras in her eyes. “I can ditch the modems, but I can’t really gouge her eyes out,” said her creator Aidan Meller. After a 10 day stand-off, she was released late last week.
Let me back up. Named in honor of famed 19th century mathematician/programmer Ada Lovelace, Ai-Da is “the world’s first ultra-realistic humanoid robot artist.” She was created in 2019, and uses AI algorithms to create art with her cameras/eyes and her bionic arms. She can draw, paint, even sculpt, and had her first major exhibit – Ai-Da: Portrait of the Robot — this summer at London’s Design Museum.
The description of her exhibit says:
As humans increasingly merge with technology, the self-titled robotic artist, Ai-Da, leads us to ask whether artworks produced by machines can indeed be called ‘art’…Ai-Da can both draw and engage in lively discussion…These features, and the movements and gestures that Ai-Da is programmed to perform, raise questions about human identity in a digital age.
Her website elaborates:
…current thinking suggests we are edging away from humanism, into a time where machines and algorithms influence our behaviour to a point where our ‘agency’ isn’t just our own. It is starting to get outsourced to the decisions and suggestions of algorithms, and complete human autonomy starts to look less robust. Ai-Da creates art, because art no longer has to be restrained by the requirement of human agency alone.Continue reading…
By MIKE MAGEE
This week’s Tom Friedman Opinion piece in the New York Times contained a title impossible to ignore: “China’s Bullying Is Becoming a Danger To The World and Itself.” The editorial has much to recommend it. But the item that caught my eye was Friedman’s full-throated endorsement of Taiwan’s “most sophisticated microchip manufacturer in the world,” Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing Company (TSMC).
TSMC owns 50% of the world’s microchip manufacturing market, and along with South Korea’s Samsung, is one of only two companies currently producing the ultra-small 5-nanometer chips. Next year, TSMC will take sole ownership of the lead with a 3-nanometer chip. In this field, the smaller the better. (For comparison, most of China’s output is 14 to 28 nanometers.)
U.S. Silicon Valley companies like Apple, Qualcomm, Nvidia, AMD, and recently Intel contract with TSMC rather than produce chips on their own. In addition, the key machines and chemicals necessary to produce the chips are willing supplied to TSMC by U.S. and European manufacturers. TSMC’s secret sauce, according to Friedman, is “trust.” As he writes, “Over the years, TSMC has built an amazing ecosystem of trusted partners that share their intellectual property with TSMC to build their proprietary chips.”
“Trust me” is not a phrase often associated with intellectual property. Consider, for example, Washington Post’s reporting the very same day as Friedman’s under the banner, “In secret vaccine contracts with governments, Pfizer took hard-line in the push for profit, report says.” The article reveals documents in a Public Citizen report that confirms that Pfizer has been maximizing their vaccine profits “behind a veil of strict secrecy, allowing for little public scrutiny… even as demand surges…”
As I describe in my book “Code Blue: Inside the Medical Industrial Complex” (Grove 2020), Pfizer’s focus on intellectual property as a commercial weapon has a history that extends back a half-century.Continue reading…
I am so thrilled that as part of my East coast jaunt I got to do another special #THCBGang. This one is with the amazing Alex Drane, CEO of Archangels. Who among other things has almost singlehandedly changed the conversation about SDOH and lots more in this country. And you know that’s true because Jeff Goldsmith has said as much on #THCB Gang many times.
Listen to Alex’s career trajectory as an entrepreneur; how she discovered and publicized the “Unmentionaables“; the good and the bad of her leaving Eliza, and the incredibly important work she is doing with Archangels. All packed into 45 mins!
By KIM BELLARD
Maybe you, like me, are an Olympics fan (in my case: Summer Games, track & field). Most Americans look forward eagerly to the Super Bowl, while the rest of the world (and, increasingly, many in the U.S.) are waiting for the World Cup. But too few of us are aware that next summer will be the inaugural International Cyber Security Challenge, an esports event that pits teams from multiple countries against each other in cybersecurity skills. The U.S. is sending a 25 person team.
So what, you might say? Well, if you work in healthcare (or any industry, for that matter), or use any kind of digital device, you should care. Ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations continue to proliferate. The Colonial Pipeline cyberattack this past spring illustrated the weakness of other parts of our critical infrastructure, and we’ve all almost certainly had some of our personal data exposed in data breaches.
We’re in a war, but it’s not clear that we have the right army, with the right weapons, ready to fight it. Thus the U.S. Cyber Games.Continue reading…
By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF HEALTH
Walmart is looking to scale its healthcare business in a brand-new way: setting its sights on self-insured employers. Today the retail giant announced a go-to-market partnership with Transcarent that will make its “everyday low price” prescription drugs and healthcare services available to self-insured employers for the very first time. Transcarent’s Executive Chairman & CEO Glen Tullman drops in to give us the inside story on the deal with Walmart, what it means for the industry, and how it could once-and-for-all ignite the ‘disruption of the payer’ that we’ve been waiting for since JP Morgan, Berkshire Hathaway, and Amazon came together to found Haven.
Transcarent and Glen are hell-bent on re-making the healthcare payment model by eliminating as many middlemen as possible, reshaping the health and care experience along the way. So, what does this partnership with Walmart mean for that mission and for Transcarent? Is this “THE Deal” we’ll look back on as the one that catapulted Transcarent into a new phase of growth? Remember when Glen’s last company, Livongo, shot into the stratosphere after its deal with CVS Health? I ask Glen if he’s running the same play in a much bigger game and finally concede: Transcarent is NOT a healthcare navigator!
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, Noom launches a mental health offering, Noom Mood, Headspace partners with Waze to offer meditation while you drive, and we have one for the Press Release Hall of Fame where Dario Health announces a major partnership with a major national health plan— but doesn’t say who it is. We have some massive deals on Episode 235: Walgreens launches Walgreens Health, acquires a controlling stake of VillageMD, AND acquires a majority stake of CareCentrix; Intelerad acquires Ambra Health for $250 million; Mindbody acquires ClassPass; and Sprinter Health gets $33 million – even though their business model makes no sense. —Matthew Holt
Joining Matthew Holt (@boltyboy) on THCBGang today were THCB regular writer Kim Bellard (@kimbbellard); patient safety expert and all around wit Michael Millenson (@MLMillenson); and privacy expert and entrepreneur Deven McGraw (@HealthPrivacy).
We heard a good bit from Deven about Ciitizen’s acquisition by genomic testing company Invitae, and got into it about the Texas abortion law, Walgreens moving into health care delivery in a big way–and whether the Giants can beat the Dodgers despite spending only 55% of their payroll! At least one of those questions will be answered tonight!