News roundup: AstraZeneca’s Evinova to market clinical trial health tech; BehaVR-Fern merge; UpHealth sells Cloudbreak telehealth translation; MedwebX launches; Tunstall-UEdinburgh research partnership; NextGen loses 84 after going private

AstraZeneca makes a bet on selling health tech for drug development. Evinova, a separate health tech business within AstraZeneca, will market and develop proprietary technology and sell it to other pharma, biotech, and clinical research organizations (CROs) to optimize clinical trials. According to their release, these technologies have already been used in successful clinical trials in over 40 countries. CROs Parexel and Fortrea have already formally agreed to offer the three-part Evinova ‘drug development suite’ to their customers. Other partnerships include Accenture and Amazon Web Services.

On the buy and funding side:

RealizedCare formed from BehaVR and Fern Health. This interesting combination of virtual reality behavioral health (BehaVR) and chronic pain manager Fern Health promises digital therapeutics for value-based chronic pain care management. RealizedCare’s market is health plans, employers and value-based providers, working with them to identify, assess, and engage their members, employees, and patients with chronic pain. Their advanced care management platform is powered by DTx technology to scale pain management. Fern Health is backed by Aachen, Germany pharmaceutical company Grünenthal which will be a strategic investor in RealizedCare.  The combined company will be US-based in Nashville. Financials and workforce transitions are not disclosed, but two CEOs are listed on their website–Brad Lawson, CEO, Fern Health, and Aaron Gani, founder and CEO. Release, Mobihealthnews

UpHealth sells off telehealth translation services holding Cloudbreak Health to private equity firm GTCR, as part of a complex reorganization. Cloudbreak provides video remote interpreting (VRI) through its Martti (My Accessible Real-Time Trusted Interpreter) tool to aid in simultaneous translation in over 250 languages. Purchase price is $180 million and subject to regulatory and shareholder approvals, with closing anticipated by Q1 2024. Cloudbreak is currently headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. UpHealth has been selling off and putting into Chapter 11 various holdings such as UpHealth Holdings [TTA 29 Sep], Behavioral Health Services (BHS), and Thrasys, Inc., but not the publicly traded UpHealth Inc., which closed today on the NYSE at $0.79 having just resumed trading (Yahoo Finance, UpHealth release). Reportedly UpHealth will be refocusing on addiction treatment services provided in South Florida. More on their complex financials in their Q3 reportRelease

Short takes:

Digital medical imaging and storage company Medweb announced MedwebX, a HIPAA-compliant solution designed for sharing imaging, studies, data, and reports across networks. Release

Oracle’s moves into Music City Nashville [TTA 2 Nov] continue with the announcement of the Oracle Health Summit on 13 February 2024. According to the Nashville Business Journal, it’s a brief one emailed out to save the date and confirm their information when further details are available. The invitation reads in part, “At this daylong event, you’ll network with peers, hear from experts on the latest trends, and learn how leading organizations are using data-driven technology to deliver human-centered experiences.” Wonder if Bill Frist will be invited.

Tunstall Healthcare and the University of Edinburgh signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on telecare research. Edinburgh’s Advanced Care Research Centre will provide the academic ecosystem for the partnership, including medicine, engineering, informatics, data, and social sciences. Research will center on the development and deployment of digital tools and techniques for telecare, including multi-partner collaborations.  AT Today

And just in time for Thanksgiving…post-going private NextGen Healthcare will be releasing 84 employees at its St. Louis, Missouri location, according to their WARN notice filed with the state. The layoffs are “as a result of staffing optimization efforts” in connection with the company’s purchase by private equity firm Thoma Bravo. Layoffs of management, supervisors, account receivables staff, representatives, and analysts who work onsite, hybrid, and remote will be staggered with some released 16 January with others 1 February and 1 March. Some employees will be remaining in St. Louis, though NextGen is headquartered in Atlanta. Becker’s, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, St. Louis Business Journal

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