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Dynamic Light Amongst 10 Most Promising Life Science Startups

Austin-based Dynamic Light won the Michael E. DeBakey Memorial Life Science Award, established by BioHouston in honor of the groundbreaking Houston cardiovascular surgeon. The software company integrates with microscope or robotic systems to provide better visuals to surgeons and health care providers and reduce medical errors, radiation and costs. The award was presented by Ann Tanabe, CEO of BioHouston.

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Kaiser Permanente, Mass General back Providence spinoff DexCare’s $50M series B round

DexCare, the digital care operating system that was spun out of Providence Health last March, has raised $50 million in series B funding for its platform that manages health system capacity and demand.

Providence Health’s Digital Innovation Group initially developed the DexCare platform in 2016 to support patient acquisition and navigation. Now, the artificial intelligence-driven platform provides those services to multiple health systems.

Transformation Capital led the series B round, with participation from Kaiser Permanente, Providence Ventures, Mass General Brigham, Define Ventures, Frist Cressey Ventures and SpringRock Ventures.

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Industry News

How Healthcare is Turning Into a Consumer Product

On January 3rd Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos, a startup that once epitomized the promise of combining Silicon Valley’s dynamism with a stodgy healthcare market, was convicted of lying to investors about the capabilities of her firm’s blood-testing technology. Yet look beyond Theranos, which began to implode way back in 2015, and a much healthier story becomes apparent. This week a horde of entrepreneurs and investors will gather virtually at the annual JPMorgan Chase healthcare jamboree. The talk is likely to be of AI, digital diagnostics, and telehealth — and of a new wave of capital flooding into a vast industry.

Clunky, costly, highly regulated health systems, often dominated by rent-seeking middlemen, are being shaken up by companies that target patients directly, meet them where they are—which is increasingly online—and give them more control over how to access care. Scientific advances in fields such as gene sequencing and artificial intelligence (AI) make new modes of care possible. E-pharmacies fulfill prescriptions, wearable devices monitor wearers’ health in real-time, telemedicine platforms connect patients with physicians, and home tests enable self-diagnosis.

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Industry News

Competition, Consolidation, and Evolution in the Pharmacy Market

Pharmacies are where most patients receive prescription drugs and, increasingly, vaccines. Retail pharmacists advise patients on their medication regimens and help them avoid drug interactions and screen for possible side effects to medications. Interacting with both patients and physicians, the retail pharmacy sector plays a key role in the distribution and reimbursement of pharmaceuticals. Pharmacies affect drug spending by: marking up wholesale drug prices
negotiating discounts and dispensing fees with pharmacy benefit managers
substituting generics for more expensive brand-name products
offering and accepting drug coupons and other non-insurance-based discounts.

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2021 year-end digital health funding: Seismic shifts beneath the surface

If you’ve been following our updates, you know 2021 was a (the!) year for digital health venture funding: In July, we reported that the year had already topped all of digital health’s previous annual funding records with six months left to go. While it may feel like old news to share just how momentous 2021 was, our updated funding graphs—with extended axes just to capture 2021’s growth—speak for themselves.

However, beneath the chart-topping numbers are signals of something deeper. 2021’s funding frenzy was, at points, both the cause and effect of bigger shifts within healthcare. Specifically, the sector experienced major changes to its infrastructure, business models, and talent pool that will make downstream effects in 2022 inevitable.

In this piece, we’ll review 2021’s funding environment with a focus on the underlying changes beneath the surface’s venture stats. We’ll place our bets on how the digital health landscape will move throughout 2022—and where there might be tremors ahead.

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Digital Health Technologies for Remote Data Acquisition in Clinical Investigations

A digital health technology (DHT) is a system that uses computing platforms, connectivity, software, and/or sensors, for healthcare and related uses. This guidance provides recommendations for sponsors, investigators, and other interested parties on the use of DHTs for remote data acquisition from participants in clinical investigations evaluating medical products. There is a large spectrum of DHTs available for potential use in a clinical investigation, some of which meet the definition of a device under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FD&C Act) and some of which do not. DHTs may take the form of hardware and/or software. In many instances, DHT software may run on general-purpose computing platforms (e.g., mobile, phone, tablet, or smart watch). A clinical investigation can use multiple DHTs to collect a range of information that may include clinical, physiological, psychological, behavioral, or functional data. This guidance outlines recommendations intended to facilitate the use of DHTs in a clinical investigation as appropriate for the evaluation of medical products. These recommendations address some of the information that should be contained in an investigational new drug application (IND) or an investigational device exemption (IDE) application for a clinical investigation in which the sponsor plans to use one or more DHTs or in a marketing application that includes such a clinical investigation.

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Global Health Innovation Midyear Graph

With $20B Raised Globally in the First Half of 2021, Health Innovation Funding Shows (More) Record Growth Post COVID

Funding announcements in health innovation have been coming in hot and fast these days. It’s easy to lose perspective about where we’ve come from and where we’re going. This 2021 midyear StartUp Health Insights Report (something we’ve been doing for a decade) is an essential opportunity to step back, take a beat, and view the market with a longer lens. What’s the 10,000-foot view? We also take this opportunity to look at funding trends from a health moonshot perspective. Are we investing in the tools and services that will increase access to care, cure disease, lower cost, and achieve the other global goals that can improve the lives of billions of people? Let’s look at the numbers.

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H1 2021 Digital Health Funding: Another Blockbuster Year…In Six Months

H1 2021 secured $14.7B in digital health funding, already surpassing all of 2020’s funding. The half closed with 372 deals and an average deal size of $39.6M, spearheaded by 48 mega deals which accounted for 59% of total H1 2021 funding. Public exit activity ballooned with 11 closed IPOs and SPACs, with another 11 SPACs expected to close in 2021. The digital health investment climate in one word: Up.
Funding, up.
Deals, up.
Deal sizes, up.
Acquisitions, up.
Public exits, up.
It’s been quite a ride this past year watching digital health catapult from a niche sector to a mainstream market. Seismic shifts from the COVID-19 pandemic launched digital health into high gear, and the momentum has only accelerated. The first half of 2021 closed with $14.7B invested across 372 US digital health deals with a $39.6M average deal size. Fifty-nine percent of that funding came from 48 mega deals ($100M+), including one of the largest single rounds of investment in digital health history: Noom’s $540M Series F round.

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CRISPR Injected into the Blood Treats a Genetic Disease for First Time

A new CRISPR-based treatment for a rare, deadly liver disease depends on an injection containing both a messenger RNA encoding a DNA-cutting enzyme (white) and another RNA (blue) that guides it to a specific gene sequence (green).

The gene editor CRISPR excels at Exing disease mutations in lab-grown cells. But using CRISPR to treat most people with genetic disorders requires clearing an enormous hurdle: getting the molecular scissors into the body and having it slice DNA in the tissues where it’s needed. Now, in a medical Erst, researchers have injected a CRISPR drug into the blood of people born with a disease that causes fatal nerve and heart disease and shown that in three of them it nearly shut off production of toxic protein by their livers.

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Coding inside of a Computer
Industry News

How a startup beat health care heavyweights to win Medicare’s AI contest

2021 opened with a whirlwind of SPAC-triggered public exit activity in digital health. In this post, we share insights and analysis on how digital health’s SPAC boom will impact four different stakeholder groups, as well as implications for the entire ecosystem.

A $1 million government contest to predict health problems with artificial intelligence attracted the heavyweights of industry and beyond — from Mayo Clinic, to IBM, to the data and consulting powerhouse Deloitte.

But the winner of Medicare’s AI health outcomes challenge is a lesser-known startup from Austin, Texas, called The company, whose victory was announced late Friday, bested 300 rivals with a system capable of forecasting adverse health events by crunching an array of data on patients.

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