News roundup: Amwell faces NYSE delisting; Walmart Health slows Health Centers, except Texas; Novosound’s ultrasound patent; Eko’s Low EF AI; Universal Brain; Elizabeth Holmes in ‘Dropout’ + update

Amwell on a six-month NYSE notice to get stock price above $1.  Telehealth provider Amwell received an NYSE notice on 2 April that their Class A stock, in having an average closing price of below $1.00 over a consecutive 30 trading-day period, violated NYSE’s continued listing minimum price criteria. It dipped below $1.00 on 12 March and stayed there. The stock will not be delisted at this time and is now in a six-month ‘cure period’. Amwell has already confirmed its intent to cure the deficiency, including proposing at its upcoming 2024 annual meeting a reverse stock split, subject to stockholder and board of directors approval. Amwell (AMWL) closing price today was $0.72 which represents a 65% decline over the prior year. Amwell is largely owned by institutional shareholders–289–holding 149.2 million shares (Fintel). Amwell IPO’d in the palmy days for telehealth in September 2020, raising $742 million at the time with shares debuting over $25 [TTA 18 Sept 2020]. Amwell’s 2023 was as hard pressed as rival Teladoc’s with a $679 million net loss in 2023, up 150% from 2022’s $272 million loss. The 2024 is not much sunnier, with revenue in the range of $259 to $269 million and adjusted EBITDA in the (less) red between ($160) million to ($155) million, with no breakeven in sight until 2026. Amwell has also released 10% of staff since 2023. Eh, have times changed? Amwell release, Healthcare Dive

Walmart Health pressing the brakes on its Health Centers, concentrating on Texas. Walmart, generally superb at reading the weather, has decided to slow down openings of its primary and urgent care centers, located only in Walmart Supercenters. The previous plan was to open 30 or more centers in 2024, reduced now to 22. 18 of these will be in Texas: eight in the Houston metro starting this month and 10 in the Dallas/Fort Worth region. The remaining four will be in the Kansas City metro. The Health Centers target patients with no or poor insurance coverage in underserved areas and offer a range of services including labs, X-rays, and dental care. The goal of 75 centers has moved forward to early 2025. Healthcare Dive, Drug Store News

A potpourri of news around smaller companies and innovations:

Scotland’s Novosound has patented a wearable, WiFi-enabled ultrasound digital platform, its 21st. The Slanj (phonetic for sláinte, meaning health in Scottish Gaelic) uses thin film printed gel-free, disposable high-resolution sensors to be integrated into other wearables such as smartwatches and other monitors. Novosound’s patent covers both the US and UK. In 2022, they inked a commercial partnership with diagnostics and digital health company PAVmed Inc. for intravascular imaging. Novosound was the first spinoff from the University of the West of Scotland. Mobihealthnews

Also in cardiac, the FDA cleared Eko Health’s Low EF detection AI. This enables a provider to quickly diagnose Low EF (ejection fraction) in a physical exam to assess possible heart failure. The Eko stethoscope and module connects to a tablet and provides a reading within 15 seconds. Trained on a proprietary dataset of over 100,000 ECGs and echocardiogram pairs from unique patients, clinically validated in a multi-site, prospective clinical study of 3,456 patients, it requires only a minimum of specialized training as part of the SENSORA Cardiac Early Detection Platform that can be used just about anywhere. The Eko Low EF was developed in conjunction with the Mayo Clinic. Eko release, MedCityNews

Universal Brain, which has developed a range of wearables that measure brain activity, named three new executives:  Greg Hajcak, PhD, as tChief Scientific Advisor, Vangelis Lympouridis, PhD as Chief Product Officer, and K.T. Venkateswara-Rao, PhD, as Head of Operations. For psychiatric clinical drug trials and psychiatric diagnosis, there is an EEG wearable paired with a digital ERP interface, Neurotique. They also developed a patient neurofeedback treatment system (EEG wearable + digital therapeutic) to augment standard treatment by providing real-time feedback for depressive symptoms.  Release

And for UK Readers weekend viewing pleasure in the UK, the Elizabeth Holmes biopic, ‘The Dropout’ is now available on BBC iPlayer. Hulu produced and originally aired the eight-episode series in March of 2022 (our review here). Hat tip to Editor Emeritus Steve. For US Readers, it is still available on Hulu. Or if you have a VPN, you can set it to a UK-based server and sign up for BBC iPlayer. The only recent (January) news about Ms. Holmes is that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Office of Inspector General (OIG) banned her and Sunny Balwani from all Federal health programs for 90 years, which does strike one as overkill as beyond their reasonable lifetimes. Ars Technica

Based on a Reddit posting on a pop culture chat, celeb Jen Shah, also at FPC Bryan, and Holmes were snapped ‘hanging out’ in the yard. Shah was convicted of heading a telemarketing financial scam that preyed on the elderly. She is serving 78 months in Federal prison and has to pay $6.6 million in restitution–numbers that could fit easily in Holmes’ 135-month sentence and $452 million restitution. And Sunny Balwani, about whom there are no pictures, no Reddit, is apparently still serving his time at Terminal Island near San Pedro, California, not in Atlanta.

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