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WTF Health: Inside the One Drop – Bayer Collaboration: New Cardiovascular Disease Product Is Just the Beginning

By JESSICA DaMASSA, WTF Health

Bayer’s $98M co-development-plus-investment in One Drop from August 2020 has yielded its first new product: a highly-personalized, AI-powered digital program aimed at preventing cardiovascular disease. While the solution itself is impressive in terms of its predictive analytics and integration into One Drop’s chronic condition precision health platform, what’s really remarkable about this milestone is that it demonstrates what’s possible when a pharma co and health tech startup are truly aligned as businesses, from R&D to go-to-market.

Bayer Pharmaceuticals’ CIO and Head of Digital & Commercial Innovation Jeanne Kehren and One Drop’s CEO Jeff Dachis take us inside their collaboration, with a very candid conversation about how their two orgs have not only developed a new product here today but how they’ve established a solid foundation for a working relationship that’s poised to revolutionize chronic care and define a new market around precision health.

We talk strategy: for Bayer-One Drop… for what the “digital disruption” will bring to pharma… and for “putting a lab on everybody’s arm” via One Drop’s sensor that’s under development. This chat reveals how the thinking behind incumbent-disruptor partnerships has truly evolved, and what it will mean for bringing digital technologies into healthcare in a big and meaningful way. For me, hearing Jeanne say, “it all starts with pharma being ‘self-aware’” and that they need to “we stop slicing things into therapeutic areas and consider the individual” AND recognize that “not everything is going to be process-oriented and shaped like we do for drugs” is a sea-change from what we were hearing only a few years ago from pharma execs about partnering with health tech companies. Things are changing! Tune in to hear so much more.

#Healthin2Point 00, Episode 237 | Horowitz and Tiger Global, Medable, Zerigo Health, and more deals

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

#Healthin2Point 00, Episode 236 | HLTH 2021, Oak Street, 23andMe, Babylon Health, and Everlywell

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

WTF Health: Inside Scoop – Medicaid Mental Health Startup Brave Health Lands $10M

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.

Medicine May Be an Art, but AI May Be Artists

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.  

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State-Based Marketplaces 2.0 Part 2: Engines of Innovation, Competition, and Consumerism

By ROSEMARIE DAY and DAVID W. JOHNSON

Within the current political reality, how can America implement policies that increase access to health insurance while also reducing premium costs and enhancing responsiveness to consumer priorities and needs? 

Large-scale healthcare reform appears off-the-table for the Biden Administration. Yet, given the impact of the COVID pandemic on people who have lost (or have worried about losing) their employer-based insurance coverage and the intensifying pressure to reduce overall healthcare costs, solutions that increase health insurance access and affordability have become more important than ever. A significant answer to this complex puzzle can be found at the state level. 

Enabled by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in 2010, state-based marketplaces (SBMs) currently operate in 14 states and the District of Columbia. Another six states operate as SBMs using the federal government’s HealthCare.gov technology platform. Three states, Kentucky, Maine, and New Mexico, will become full SBMs by 2022.

While federal measures to improve insurance access have stalled or been reversed over the past eight years, SBMs have quietly implemented programming modifications for stabilizing local markets that improve the quality and marketability of health insurance offerings to the benefit of consumers.

In Part 2 of our series on marketplace health plan innovations, we examine how SBMs have operated as experimental policy laboratories. They’ve taken their own paths to expand consumer choice, increase access to vital healthcare services, and lower premiums.

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The “Secret Sauce” – A Comparison of TSMC and Pfizer

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.

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THCB Gang Episode 69 – Thurs October 21 — Alex Drane Special!

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!

This is be available as a video below and a podcast on Apple and Spotify from Friday.

We Use Too Many Medications: Be Very Afraid of Interactions

By HANS DUVEFELT

I happened to read about the pharmacodynamics of parenteral versus oral furosemide when I came across a unique interaction between this commonest of diuretics and risperidone: Elderly dementia patients on risperidone have twice their expected mortality if also given furosemide. I knew that all atypical antipsychotics can double mortality in elderly dementia patients, but was unaware of the additional risperidone-furosemide risk. Epocrates only has a nonspecific warning to monitor blood pressure when prescribing both drugs.

This is only today’s example of an interaction I didn’t have at my fingertips. I very often check Epocrates on my iPhone for interactions before prescribing, because – quite frankly – my EMR always gives me an entire screen of fine print idiotic kindergarten warnings nobody ever has time to read in a real clinical situation. (In my case provided by the otherwise decent makers of UpToDate.)

I keep coming back in my thoughts and blogging about drug interactions. And every time I run into one that surprised me or caused harm, I think of the inherent, exponential risks of polypharmacy and the virtues of oligopharmacy.

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You Need a Cyber Team

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.

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