Digital health news, funding roundup in the prior week; August 29, 2022

Steven Loeb · August 29, 2022 · Short URL:

Amazon Care to shut down; Dr. Fauci retires; Moderna sues Pfizer; Alma raises $130M

Top Health News

  • The Texas Association of Community Health Centers, an association committed to advancing equitable access to quality healthcare in Texas, partnered with Unite Us, a technology company connecting health and social care, with TACHC joining the Unite Texas network. Together, the two entities will be expanding a coordinated care network that addresses unmet social needs and improves health outcomes for Texans. When TACHC refers patients to social needs services, such as those addressing housing, transportation, or food insecurity, its centers will now receive information on what services were used by the patient, what the disposition of the visit was, and if any other needs were identified.
  • Bicycle Health, a virtual addiction medicine clinic that helps treat opioid dependence or use disorder, joined Evernorth’s behavioral health network. Through this partnership, Bicycle will be available to all Evernorth clients, as well as Cigna health plan customers who receive health coverage through their employer or marketplace exchange plans in 24 states. Evernorth is the health services business of Cigna Corporation.
  • Clarify Health, a enterprise analytics and value-based payments platform company, announced that it is deepening its partnership with healthcare data ecosystem Datavant. Through this expanded partnership, life sciences companies will be able to use Datavant’s privacy-preserving tokenization technology to connect their proprietary, first-party data with real-world data in the Clarify Atlas Platform. That means that clinical researchers will be able to the measure long-term effectiveness and outcomes of new therapies, and it will also allow commercial teams to better understand patterns in treatment sequencing, therapy adoption, and patient access.
  • BetterHelp, a provider of direct-to-consumer access to behavioral and mental health services, launched a new scholarship aimed at college students in the mental health field. Called the Future of Mental Health Scholarship, the company will award 10 college students with academic scholarships of $10,000 to be used toward the upcoming 2022-2023 school year. To be considered, the student must be enrolled in a university for the 2022-2023 school year, have a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher, and be majoring in psychology or a mental health-related field. Enrollment is open until September 1, 2022, and the winners will be announced in early October.
  • Anomaly, which uses AI to reduce unnecessary healthcare costs and to streamline healthcare billing by identifying and preventing inaccurate payments before they happen, launched a new product called Smart Response, which can predict claims denials, thereby improving the physician's relationship with insurers and helping patients avoid the problem of surprise billing. Smart Response uses AI to enable providers and payers to reduce avoidable claim denials and rework and increase payment transparency by predicting denials and payment amounts in real-time. In an analysis of over $100 billion of billed charges through June 2022, Smart Response was able to accurately predict claim line denials and reasons with over 97% accuracy.
  • The Propel Center, an HBCU technology and learning hub, announced the awardees of $1 million in Health Innovation & Research Grants. These awards, the second round of Industry Impact Grants, continue Propel's mission to offer world-class research and innovation opportunities for HBCUs and their students. The five grant awardees will each receive $200,000 in funding, and will also have the opportunity to work in collaboration with Propel Impact Industry Mentors, who are available to help develop curricula and provide ongoing mentorship, learning support, and internship opportunities. The five grant awardees are: Virginia State University, Harris-Stowe State University, the University of Maryland-Eastern Shore, Morehouse School of Medicine and Cheyney University.
  • Amazon announced plans to shut down Amazon Care, the virtual health service it first launched in 2019, by the end of the year. Amazon Care started as a service for Amazon employees based in Seattle, pairing virtual health care services with the option for an in-home visit from a nurse. The company expanded the program nationwide, offering it to companies in all 50 states who wanted to provide the service to their employees. Amazon was still expanding the service as recently as this month, when a webpage showed that it was adding mental health care through a partnership with mental health company Ginger. The move to shut down an in-house health service comes on the heels of Amazon’s planned acquisition of the subscription-based primary care company One Medical. Amazon is also reportedly interested in buying Signify Health, a company that makes technology for at-home health care.
  • Google announced it will start adding clear labels to Search and Map listings for healthcare facilities that provide abortions. The change comes in light of the Supreme Court’s decision to strip federal abortion rights. The company said on Thursday that if it has received confirmation that a healthcare facility provides abortions, the label for the center will say “Provides abortions.” In cases where Google doesn’t have that confirmation, the label for relevant searches will say “Might not provide abortions.” The company says the change is rolling out as part of a series of improvements to how Google displays and labels search results for certain places in Search and Maps.
  • COVID-19 vaccine maker Moderna sued Pfizer and the German drugmaker BioNTech, accusing its main competitors of copying Moderna’s technology in order to make their own vaccine. Moderna said that Pfizer and BioNTech’s vaccine Comirnaty infringes on patents Moderna filed several years ago protecting the technology behind its preventive shot, Spikevax. The company filed patent infringement lawsuits in both U.S. federal court and a German court. A Pfizer spokeswoman said the company had not fully reviewed Moderna’s lawsuit, but the drugmaker was surprised by it, given that their vaccine is based on proprietary technology developed by both BioNTech and Pfizer.
  • Health officials revealed that Monkeypox has now been detected in all 50 states, hwith Wyoming coming the final state to report a case. The Wyoming Department of Health announced the case in an adult male in Laramie County, which includes the capital of Cheyenne. Since the first case was announced in a Massachusetts patient in mid-May, more than 14,100 infections have been reported across the country as of Monday, CDC data shows. New York currently has the most infections with more than 2,700, followed by California, Florida, Texas and Georgia. 
  • FOLX Health, a digital healthcare service provider designed by and for the medical needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, launched education, counseling, evaluation, and referrals for Monkeypox treatment. At FOLX Health, LGBTQIA+ community members can now book an appointment to discuss Monkeypox with a licensed clinician in their state through the company’s recently launched Virtual Healthcare offering. Through this visit, members will receive education, counseling, information on symptoms and safety, and help finding a vaccination or treatment site for Monkeypox. Over the past month, all FOLX clinicians have undergone Monkeypox-specific training to equip them with the information needed to treat FOLX members.
  • Baxter International, a global medtech company, expanded its partnership with international not-for-profit organization The Links to continue bringing awareness and resources for the challenges affecting Black Americans related to kidney health. Baxter is committing an incremental $800,000 in funding to The Links, specifically targeted toward expanding the program's footprint to additional areas with a high prevalence of chronic kidney disease. This investment brings Baxter's cumulative contributions to The Links to $1.4 million in two years. The Links joined forces with Baxter in 2021 to create intervention-based programs focused on the prevention, detection, and management of CKD. During the inaugural program year in The Links Central region, 36 local chapters engaged with more than 260 area healthcare professionals and over 500 community partners including faith-based organizations, civic leaders and other influential community advocates. Through these efforts and The Links programs, more than 51,000 community members received kidney health awareness and education resources.
  • Dr. Anthony Fauci announced he will leave as director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and as chief medical adviser to President Joe Biden in December, Fauci previously said that he planned to step down from government office by the end of Biden’s term in January 2025. Fauci, who began his career at NIAID in 1968, has directed the institute since 1984.
  • Cadence, a company helping patient-centric health systems deliver more consistent, proactive healthcare, announced a partnership with ScionHealth, a provider of acute and post-acute hospital solutions, to implement a remote care management and responsive virtual care program across ScionHealth’s national footprint, enhancing clinical care for thousands of patients managing chronic conditions. The ScionHealth Cadence partnership will initially be rolled out to support ambulatory patients across ScionHealth’s 18 community hospital campuses in 12 U.S. states, with additional work planned in the future to support ScionHealth's specialty hospitals and long-term acute patient populations. It will first support managing hypertension, heart failure, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • Sonde Health, an enterprise vocal biomarker company, signed a multi-year agreement with Koye Pharmaceuticals, a specialty pharma organization focused on the Indian Pharmaceutical market, to develop a new vocal biomarker detection and monitoring capability for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease in India. As part of this arrangement, Koye will leverage Sonde’s vocal biomarker development platform, expanding upon its already existing respiratory responsive vocal biomarker, to create an entirely novel vocal biomarker for COPD in India. This will allow Koye to develop solutions that help track and treat respiratory health in COPD patients using their voice.
  • Surescripts,a health intelligence sharing platform, joined Civitas Networks for Health, a national collaborative comprised of member organizations working to use health information exchange, health data, and multi-stakeholder, cross-sector approaches to improve health, as a strategic business and technology partner to continue leveraging healthcare interoperability nationwide, providing better informed patient care and lower healthcare costs.
  • Satio, a medical device company developing diagnostic and drug delivery solutions, announced a strategic partnership agreement with Institut Pasteur de Dakar,  a non-profit public interest foundation with the mission to advance public health in Senegal and Africa. By combining SatioRxTM intradermal patches and Institut Pasteur de Dakar technologies, the partnership aims to accelerate clinical development of and access to vaccine patches for addressing epidemics, as well as diagnostic patches for blood sampling, genetic testing, and pathogen surveillance.
  • etherFAX, an Infrastructure-as-a-Service solution, announced its partnership with Vivlio Health, a provider of workflow automation technology for healthcare organizations. As part of the partnership, Vivlio Health will utilize the etherFAX Secure Exchange Network to receive incoming faxes, clinical data, and high-resolution, color documents with ultra-fast transmission speeds and end-to-end encryption.
  • The Cedars-Sinai Accelerator welcomed 10 health-tech startup companies from around the world to its eighth accelerator class. The companies are building a variety of healthcare solutions, from culturally-appropriate digital mental health services to wearable devices that help patients manage chronic asthma. During the three-month term, company representatives collaborate with doctors, researchers and administrators to understand how their products and solutions work in a real-world environment to benefit patients, clinicians and hospitals. The 10 companies are Acolyte Health, Aevice Health, Aidin, Candlelit Therapy, GattaCo, Luminare, Shift, Siimee, and Syntho.
  • Engooden Health, a chronic disease management company, announced a partnership with TribeHealth, a strategic care management organization. The collaboration enables TribeHealth to offer its partners and their patients chronic disease management services through Engooden’s scalable, technology-enhanced solution.
  • Sena Health, a care at home company, was selected to support the "Salem Acute Care at Home" Program. This Program combines expert care and advanced technology to provide non-fragmented services, focusing on patient needs in the comfort of their home. To be enrolled in the Salem Acute Care at Home Program, patients must be seen and evaluated in the Emergency Department and meet certain eligibility criteria to be safely cared for at home. During their time in the Program, patients receive at least two in-person nursing visits per day, and they connect with dedicated members of the clinical team, just as they would in a hospital.
  • Fusemachines, an enterprise AI talent solutions provider, announced its partnership with UpaCare Health, a primary healthcare solution, to form an interdisciplinary team for developing a comprehensive patient-centric and AI-powered digital health platform. The platform will include features that help patients and healthcare providers connect with each other, while providing an effective way to collect and manage patient data.
  • MagnaCare, a health plan and human resource administrator, and the International Association of Fire Fighters Health & Wellness Trust expanded their relationship to make high-value healthcare benefits available to first responders and their families nationwide. Formerly known as Northwest Fire Fighters Benefits Trust, IAFF Health & Wellness Trust offers a slate of health benefit options specifically designed to meet the needs of firehouse employees and their families. Based in Washington state, the Trust currently serves more than 4,000 members in eight states. The Trust is expected to double in size in the next six months.
  • iQuartic, a risk adjustment company, and WellStackTM, a provider of healthcare data and analytics solutions, announced a multi-year strategic partnership to bring technology solutions for health plans and providers to drive their digital transformation and innovation. Through this partnership, healthcare organizations will be able to seamlessly integrate data and advanced analytics at a rapid speed. Both iQuartic and WellStack are focused on leveraging cutting-edge cloud, AI/NLP, and low-code/no-code technology to provide better insights into patient health, care quality, and operational excellence.
  • Metabolon, a provider of metabolomics solutions that advance a wide variety of research, diagnostic, therapeutic development, and precision medicine applications, partnered with the University of Oxford Parkinson's Disease Centre to identify metabolomic biomarkers related to Parkinson's disease progression and prediction and to detect new therapeutic targets. Through this collaboration, Metabolon will perform global metabolomics on longitudinal serum and cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) samples collected by OPDC. This will enable Metabolon and Oxford to gain insights into the metabolomic changes occurring during Parkinson's disease progression over many years in this deeply phenotyped cohort. The metabolomic data will be incorporated with clinical and genetic data to provide a holistic view of Parkinson's over the course of the disease.
  • IRRAS, a commercial-stage medical technology company with a portfolio of products for neurocritical care, announced the initial patient treatments with the company's IRRAflow system within Mount Sinai Health System in New York, NY. Thus far, two patients suffering from intraventricular hemorrhage have been enrolled in the Deployment of Irrigating Intraventricular Catheter System clinical trial for patients. The DIVE study will assess the IRRAflow system's ability to more effectively treat patients experiencing IVH than traditional treatment with an external ventricular drain.
  • Minute Media and its sports entertainment network FanSided partnered with Special Olympics International to help end discrimination against people with intellectual disabilities and further inclusivity in sports. This global partnership exemplifies the power of authentic storytelling and will leverage Minute Media's editorial platforms to raise awareness and share the inspiring stories of people with intellectual disabilities.
  • INFINITY, an outsourced services, benefits and credentialing, consulting services, talent solutions and mergers & acquisitions resource for behavioral health organizations, partnered with Healthcare Financing of America, a healthcare collections platform, to expand their patient payment collections capabilities. By improving the patient payment experience, providers can increase their collections receivables, drive efficiencies and realize increased patient satisfaction.
  • Wheelhouse, a cancer management platform for employer-sponsored health plans, and Forbie, a cancer care management technology company, announced a formal partnership to improve cancer patients' lives. The partnership provides a unique combination of prevention, care management, and survivorship solutions along with a comprehensive cancer care app. This creates a full-service resource for cancer patients and rapidly furthers both organizations' missions to change cancer's impact.
  • BPOC, a pure-play healthcare investor, announced a new partnership with experienced pharmaceutical executive, Mark Scullion, to build a premier clinical research site platform serving the pharmaceutical market. BPOC will work with Mr. Scullion to build a high-performing site network through acquisition and organic growth leveraging a centralized platform that will solve critical pain points for pharmaceutical sponsors. This effort marks BPOC's third partnership in the pharmaceutical services space in the last year and is consistent with BPOC's thesis driven approach to investing.
  • Hovione, a Contract Development and Manufacturing Organization with an offering of services for drug substance, drug product intermediate and drug product, and Zerion, a developer of drug formulations, announced an extension of their collaboration on Zerion's Dispersome technology into the nutraceutical/dietary supplements field. The first product candidate selected for joint development is an antioxidant with multiple health benefits and known for its extremely low solubility and bioavailability. In addition to the joint development projects, Zerion has granted Hovione an exclusive license to exploit the Dispersome® technology for other nutraceuticals/dietary supplements. In return, Hovione will pay Zerion license fees and royalties on sales of the licensed products.
  • Managed Health, a healthcare solution designed to complement any health insurance plan and focus on improving employees' physical and financial wellbeing, and ADP, a human resources management and software provider, announced a partnership to offer companies the Managed Health Champ Plan as a new healthcare solution. Managed Health designed this program as an independent benefit plan to provide employees with additional access to doctors, Urgent Care, prescriptions, and more at a net-zero out-of-pocket cost. In addition to improved health, productivity, and employee retention, the Managed Health program also provides significant savings for participating companies through a correctly structured Section 125 plan.
  • Teleflex, a provider of medical technologies, announced a new agreement with FundamentalVR, a provider of virtual reality integration for medical simulation. The agreement will provide Teleflex with a VR training platform to accelerate the effective use of the company’s UroLift 2 System, an innovative technology for treatment of benign prostatic hyperplasia, commonly known as enlarged prostate. The VR training platform integrates tactile feedback and a digital representation of the UroLift 2 System to provide urologists with a “hands-on” VR experience that can accelerate their learning.
  • Lucid Lane, a company dedicated to data-driven personalized health planning, announced a partnership with Arizona Pain, a pain management practice. Lucid Lane is partnering with Arizona Pain to help their team grow their Medication-Assisted Tapering, Medication Therapy Management, and Cognitive Behavioral Therapy programs for pain and mental health, conducting ongoing remote patient monitoring and in-the-moment 24/7 counseling and support to empower patients to improve their quality of life.
  • HealthBar, a provider of nurse-driven healthcare services for school districts and businesses, and BAMF Health, a Intelligence-Based Precision Medicine company, announced a partnership in which they will be providing concierge healthcare services to patients who travel to BAMF’s Grand Rapids location for their treatment. The partnership will provide “white glove” nursing services for patients around their care schedules including transportation to and from appointments.
  • Cue Health, a health information company, announced a new collaboration with Fresenius Kidney Care, company which provides kidney dialysis services, to provide the most accurate COVID-19 self-test to certain patients and clinical care teams. People who are immunocompromised have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 throughout the pandemic and remain highly dependent on measures that reduce the likelihood of infections, including vaccination. Cue can be used by vulnerable patient populations and their care partners to detect and treat COVID-19 early, often before complications arise and hospitalization is required. This is especially important in remote locations where timely and accurate results are critical for making clinical treatment decisions. Fresenius Kidney Care in HawaiiAlaskaPuerto RicoGuam, and Saipan will use the Cue Health Monitoring System and Cue COVID-19 Test to screen employees and test symptomatic immunocompromised patients in-center and at-home.
  • Accuhealth, a remote monitoring company, announced a partnership with WebMD Provider Services, which helps health systems and plans build enduring relationships and educate individuals at every stage in their healthcare journey. Together, Accuhealth and WebMD Provider Services will enable Accuhealth Chronic Care Management patients with access to WebMD's Krames Healthsheets digital patient educational content for over 34 diseases and conditions, including hypertension, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
  • HORIBA, a medical diagnostic company, and SigTuple, a medtech company that develops AI-powered digital microscopy solutions, announced a partnership to accelerate adoption of SigTuple’s AI100 across the Indian subcontinent. SigTuple leverages AI & robotics, to automate the error prone and inefficient manual microscopic review of samples in laboratories. SigTuple’s AI100 is the AI-assisted digital pathology solution. Its AI based cell classification is presented to a pathologist on a cloud platform, standardising the quality and increasing the efficiency of the pathologist multifold.
  • Enlyt Health, a Low Code Mobile Platform as a Service for Healthcare Digital Front Doors, announced that it expanded its integration partnership, adding Technossus as a System Integrator. The Enlyt Health platform has been recognized by healthcare systems for its innovation in Digital Front Door experience and improving patient experience. All Salesforce community members can now easily explore and access Enlyt Health platform on the Salesforce AppExchange.


  • Biolog-id, a digital health solution provider focusing on value-chain optimization, and Genesis, a special purpose acquisition company, entered into a memorandum of understanding in connection with a proposed merger
  • Integrity Marketing Group, a distributor of life and health insurance, and provider of wealth management and retirement planning solutions, entered into an agreement to acquire Senior Resource Services, which offers Medicare Supplement plans, life insurance, long-term care planning and annuities for Medicare beneficiaries and retirees
  • Recuro Health, a virtual health solution, acquired Competitive Health, an integrated digital health solutions company
  • Rayont, an international integrative healthcare and wellness company, completed its acquisition of skin genetics company The Skin DNA Company
  • BroadcastMed, a healthcare media company, acquired AEGIS Dental Network, a publishing, education, and multimedia communications company for the dental industry
  • BrightStar Care, a home care and medical staffing franchise, acquired eight BrightStar Care locations from its franchisee David Strassburg
  • Fresenius Medical Care, a provider of products and services for individuals with kidney diseases, InterWell Health, a physician organization driving innovation in the kidney care industry, and Cricket Health, a provider of value based kidney care completed a three-way merger to create an independent new company that will operate under the InterWell Health brand

Funding Roundup

  • Avenda Health raised $10 million for personalized prostate cancer treatment
  • Fair Square Medicare raised $15 million to help seniors engage with the healthcare system
  • Alma raised $130 million to help mental health providers build their practices
  • LumaBridge, an oncology-focused clinical research platform, raised an undisclosed amount of funding
  • Digital Diagnostics, a platform for AI-based diagnosis of diabetic retinopathy, raised $75 million
  • Ubie, an AI-based symptom checker, raised $26.4 million
  • Happy Health, developer of a wearable designed to measure stress and mood, raised $60 million
  • Plume, a provider of virtual care services designed for the health care needs of the transgender community, raised $24 million
  • Vidcare Technologies, a point-of-care and consumer diagnostic testing platform, raised $300,000
  • Mojocare, which offers personalised care delivery systems in different wellness domains, raised $20.6 million
  • Aktis Oncology, a biotechnology company discovering and developing novel classes of targeted alpha radiopharmaceuticals to treat a broad range of solid tumors, raised $84 million
  • HealthAssure, a company aggregating primary health care services and OPD insurance, raised INR 500 million
  • Nitra, a provider of financial products, integrated medical software, and supply chain solutions to practitioners and physicians, raised $62 million
  • SaNOtize, an anti-infective-focused therapeutics company, raised $24 million
  • Hera Biotech, a biotechnology company that addresses unmet needs in the field of women’s health and reproductive medicine, raised $1.9 million
  • Petfolk, a veterinary care platform that offers a community for vets, pets and the humans who love them, raised $40 million
  • AiM Medical Robotics, a developer of MRI-compatible intraoperative robotics for neurosurgery, raised an undisclosed amount of funding

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