7Wire Ventures is a venture fund that invests in early-stage healthcare companies that are focused on connecting with the healthcare consumer — kind of like one of the most successful companies in its portfolio, Livongo, which went public in 2019. Robert Garber, a partner with the firm, stops by to share his point-of-view on where the consumer health tech market will be headed in 2020, if we’ll see more exits, and whether or not consumer health will be able to gain traction with healthcare’s established players like payers and health systems.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020
It was a seminal moment in virtual care as Teladoc Health acquired Intouch Health for $600 million, effectively taking its mostly direct-to-consumer telehealth platform directly into more than 2,500 care providers — or, as they say, “from hospital to home.” We caught up with InTouch Health’s CEO, Joe DeVivo, to hear his thoughts on the deal, including what it means for the further advancement of virtual care and for the digital health industry at-large.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020
What does Glen Tullman, Chairman of Livongo, expect from the health tech market in 2020? Livongo may have started a “race for the exits” in digital health with its 2019 IPO, and Glen says he “wants a healthy, consumer-facing digital health market” to help his own business thrive. Does that mean he anticipates more IPOs from the health tech sector this year? We get Glen’s predictions after we catch up on Livongo’s recent moves to partner with DexCom and test a new pathway to reimbursement via Express Scripts’ Digital Health Formulary.
Filmed at J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco, January 2020.
Artificial intelligence has become a crucial part of our technological infrastructure and the brain underlying many consumer devices. In less than a decade, machine learning algorithms based on deep neural networks evolved from recognizing cats in videos to enabling your smartphone to perform real-time translation between 27 different languages. This progress has sparked the use of AI in drug discovery and development.
Artificial intelligence can improve efficiency and outcomes in drug development across therapeutic areas. For example, companies are developing AI technologies that hold the promise of preventing serious adverse events in clinical trials by identifying high-risk individuals before they enroll. Clinical trials could be made more efficient by using artificial intelligence to incorporate other data sources, such as historical control arms or real-world data. AI technologies could also be used to magnify therapeutic responses by identifying biomarkers that enable precise targeting of patient subpopulations in complex indications.
Innovation in each of these areas would provide substantial benefits to those who volunteer to take part in trials, not to mention downstream benefits to the ultimate users of new medicines.
Misapplication of these technologies, however, can have unintended harmful consequences. To see how a good idea can turn bad, just look at what’s happened with social media since the rise of algorithms. Misinformation spreads faster than the truth, and our leaders are scrambling to protect our political systems.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’re celebrating Valentine’s Day with many new funding deals! On Episode 109, Jess and I discuss Flywire, a payment startup that received not only $120 million from Goldman Sachs, reaching unicorn status, but also acquired the healthcare payments company Simplee which aids the hospital-patient billing process. Headspace raises $93 million, around half of which will be used to build a new ‘Health’ category and the other half to teach meditation. Outset medical raises $125 million for a portable dialysis machine and Iora Health raises $126 million for Series F funding. Finally, I give my take on patient-centric SaaS company Seqster receiving an undisclosed amount from Takeda. –Matthew Holt
Optical coherence tomography, otherwise known as OCT testing, gives eye doctors a glimpse of the retina to help detect eye diseases like glaucoma, macular degeneration, retinopathy, and more. So, what’s wrong with current methods of testing? Helge Sudkamp, CEO & co-founder of Visotec, explains how traditional OCT machines are huge, bulky and expensive — limiting scanning to infrequent visits at the doctor’s office. His company has a new take on OCT tech that puts the scanning into patients’ hands with a small, portable device that can be used daily AT HOME. What can daily at-home monitoring offer eye patients and their doctors? Never-before-collected data on the day-to-day progress of eye disease for one. Find out more about how Visotec ultimately hopes to leverage this new info to build algorithms into their devices that will be able to detect biomarkers that help identify eye diseases faster.
Filmed at Bayer G4A Signing Day in Berlin, Germany, October 2019.
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg believes “at some point in the 2020s, we will get breakthrough augmented reality glasses that will redefine our relationship with technology.” He went on to elaborate:
Instead of having devices that take us away from the people
around us, the next platform will help us be more present with each other and
will help the technology get out of the way. Even though some of the early
devices seem clunky, I think these will be the most human and social technology
platforms anyone has built yet.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we’re starting out with a riddle: what’s the similarity between the 49ers Super Bowl performance and digital health? Find out on Episode 108, where Jess and I discuss other news in health tech starting off with another IPO, OneMedical. Now worth more than Livongo at $2.7 billion, this went better than anyone could’ve expected. Hinge Health raises $90 million in a Series C round, offering physical therapy at home and tapping into the loads of waste that goes towards back surgeries. Finally, Humana partners with a private equity company to expand primary care centers, what is the deal with this? —Matthew Holt
From the point at which a medication arrives at a hospital’s receiving dock to the time it’s given to a patient, Omnicell systems are relied on to “store it, package it, barcode it, order it, issue it, and charge it.” Now, CEO Randy Lipps wants to automate ALL OF IT — getting medications from dockside to bedside, without the help of human hands. The Autonomous Pharmacy is not only Omnicell’s bold vision for the future of medication management for hospitals that brings in robotics and software to improve the safety and accuracy of every aspect of the drug delivery process, but as Randy says, it’s an “industry movement” to free the hospital pharmacist from the “basement pharmacy” and allow them to truly practice at the top of their license. Although integrating new tech into healthcare systems is never easy, this CEO says that it’s less the tech — and more the lack of urgency in shifting our mindset as an industry — that’s slowing us down. What exactly needs to change? Bold visions require big plans…
Filmed at the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP) Midyear Clinical Meeting in Las Vegas, December 2019.
Today on Health in 2 Point 00, we have SoftBank Money! I managed to beat Chrissy Farr to this piece of gossip by about 3 weeks, but digital pharmacy startup Alto raises $250 million from SoftBank. Medloop raises 6 million euros doing communication with patients, and mental health startup Spring Health raises $22 million as well. Turning to the EMR drama, I also give a rundown on Judy Faulkner’s letter, and explain the cautionary tale that is Practice Fusion & the Purdue opiate promotion. —Matthew Holt
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