CAR-T. Fitness Acquirers. Pharma in Digital Health.
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Drug Money

The last week brought a few major announcements centered around CAR T-cell therapies, which essentially re-engineer your immune system to fight diseases. Gilead bought Kite Pharmaceuticals, a developer of different CAR-T cell therapies for ~$12B in cash and Novartis received the green light for its CAR-T therapy, Kymriah, which targets pediatric acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

However, Cellectis had to halt its CAR-T studies due to a patient death (and this is not the first time, Juno Therapeutics had this issue previously). 

Overall, interest in the technology has spiked as monitored by our Trends tool.

We conducted a research briefing last year on different startups attacking cancer and highlighted immunotherapy as one solution with a lot of momentum. You can see the full research briefing here and find companies on our platform using CAR-T via this company search.

Business not as usual

CAR-T is cutting edge, but here's the thing that really caught my eye regarding the announcements: Novartis is using an outcomes based approach for its new Kymriah treatment — it'll only be reimbursed for the leukemia treatment by the Center for Medicare and Medicad Services (CMS) if it works in the first month. While the entire healthcare system is moving towards value-based pricing, drug companies have mostly dodged that wave.

Traditional pharma's business model might be slowly shifting towards an outcomes focus, but digital therapeutics companies have built their entire business models on outcomes. And those digital therapeutics companies will logically be in the M&A and partnership crosshairs if pharma starts prioritizing this business model. We're already starting to see signs of this with Roche's acquisition of diabetes management platform mySugr, but we mapped and analyzed all the other digital health investments by pharma companies for our expert research clients.


You can see other digital therapeutics startups in a collection on our platform

Show of hands

We're in the planning phases for our healthcare conference next year, and wanted to hear from you about what you want. Click below to vote.

1. Where would you most like to attend a digital health conference?

New York
San Francisco

2. Which topic would you be most interested to see covered at the conference?

Digital therapeutics
Changes in health insurance
International health trends
Regulatory shifts
CRISPR, augmented reality, and emerging tech
Tech giants entering healthcare

Stay healthy,

Timeline: Big Pharma Bets On Digital Health Startups (Expert Research)

US-based pharmaceutical company Merck continues to lead the pack, with a dozen digital health deals in the past two years alone. See the analysis.
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Research Briefing: Startups Attacking Cancer

A deep dive into advances in cancer therapy and including where VCs and big corporations like Google, IBM, Merck and Novartis are placing their private market bets. See the briefing.
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Facebook, Hyatt, Weight Watchers, And Others Are Scooping Up Fitness Tech Startups

Acquirers in the fitness tech space range far and wide. 2017 has seen 15 exits thus far. See the acquisitions.
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This Week in Digital Health

A curated mix of recent articles on digital health financings, exits, announcements, hirings, partnerships & perspectives.

Notable Deals raises., an online tool that matches patients with clinical trials, has raised $11M from Merck's Global Health Innovation Fund, Smedvig Capital, and Octopus Ventures.

Eight Roads Ventures launches new fund. Eight Roads Ventures announced the launch of its $250M China Healthcare Fund, its first dedicated China fund. The fund will invest in therapeutics, healthcare services, healthcare IT, and medical technology.
China Money Network

Teckro Series BLimerick, Ireland-based Teckro, which uses machine learning to increase the speed and accuracy of clinical trials, raised a $10M Series B from Sands Capital Ventures, Founders Fund, and Section 32.
The Irish Times

SinoVision TechnologiesBeijing-based SinoVision Technologies, a developer of computed tomography (CT) scanners, has raised $29M from HG Capital, Qiming Venture Partners, and Yili Fuyi Doahe.
China Money Network

23andMe financing. 23andMe, a direct-to-consumer genetic testing service, is raising close to $200M in a round led by Sequoia Capital, according to a recent report by TechCrunch.

Dawailelo acquired. Varanasi, India-based Dawailelo, a platform that helps users purchase medications and search for doctors, was acquired by 1MG Technologies.

Aifloo SmartCare Series A. Stockholm-based Aifloo, developers of a motion sensitive wristband intended to promote aging-in-place, raised a $6.1M Series A from EQT Ventures.

Dipat Series ABerlin-based Dipat, a digital service for patient care and medical emergency data, raised an additional $1.19M on top of its previous $2.12M Series A from new investor Axel Springer Digital Ventures.

Notable Labs Series ANotable Labs, a drug-testing service designed to match patients with effective drug combinations, raised a $10M Series A led by Builders VC, with participation from First Round Capital and Founders Fund, among others.

PATH receives outsized grantPATH, an international nonprofit global health organization, received a $120M grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to support further vaccine development.


Iora Health partners with WellCare. Iora Health, a direct primary care startup, has partnered with managed care service provider Wellcare of Connecticut in an effort to provide coordinated care to WellCare's Medicare Advantage members in Connecticut.
PR Newswire

Verily opens its doors to startups. Verily, a life sciences arm of Alphabet, is now offering entrepreneurs access to its lab space, talent, and resources in exchange for equity or cash. The program has space for 5-10 startups.

Joyable launches D2C platform. Joyable, a digital cognitive behavioral therapy platform, is now offering its program direct-to-consumers. The program was previously only available to employer and health plan customers.

Cerner, HealthSouth collaborate. HealthSouth, one of the largest providers of post-acute healthcare services in the US, has collaborated with EMR provider Cerner to develop a Post-Acute Innovation Center. The Center's goal is to develop clinical decision support tools to manage patients across multiple care settings.

Intermountain + University of Utah.  Funded by a $3.8M National Cancer Institute grant, researchers at the University of Utah, Intermountain Healthcare, and the Huntsman Cancer Institute are collaborating to improve screening for several types of cancer in primary care settings and the broader healthcare system.

Illumina's new spinoutGene sequencing giant Illumina announced plans with Telegraph Hill Partners to establish Verogen, an independent company that will have exclusive rights to Illumina's forensic sequencing technology.

Verily and Google co-author paper. Though not yet peer reviewed, researchers from Google and Verily recently published a paper in which they trained a machine learning algorithm on 284,335 retinal images used to predict cardiovascular risk factors such as age, gender, smoking status, and blood pressure.
Cornell University Library

Adherium achieves FDA approvalMelbourne, Australia-based Adherium recently received FDA 510(K) clearance for its new respiratory inhaler monitoring device, dubbed the SmartTouch for Symbicort.

Articles & Perspectives

Helping coma patients communicate. Technologies such as functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are now enabling comatose patients to communicate with the outside world. It has been shown that 15%-20% of people in a vegetative state are in fact fully conscious.
The Guardian

Hurricanes and medical recordsVictims of hurricanes such as Katrina or Harvey stand to lose decades worth of medical data due to the closed-off nature of medical record systems, which can be washed away during a storm. Emergency data-sharing networks such as Pulse are working to change that.

Revival of traditional Chinese medicineAided by government support, traditional medical practices in China and India are experiencing a resurgence. In China, there has been a 60% increase in the number of health facilities offering ancient drugs between 2003 and 2015.
Times of India
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