News and funding roundup: BioIntelliSense ‘stickers’ $45M, Exo ultrasound scans $220M, Enovation gets Scotland OK, WellSky snaps up Healthify, Cerner’s good quarter despite VA

Sticker shock? BioIntelliSense, which has been flying under the radar for over a year [TTA 17 July 2020] since inking a deal with Philips to integrate their BioSticker sensors into their post-acute remote patient monitoring (RPM) systems, scored a $45 million Series B funding for a total of $82 million since 2018. Lead investor is Chimera (UAE) with participation from 7wire Technology Partners, Mary Tolan of Chicago Pacific Founders, James Murren, formerly of MGM Resorts International, as well as Pendrell Corporation, Royal Philips, and Fresenius Medical Care North America.

BioIntelliSense has two wearables: the BioSense on-body sensor for 30 days of continuous vital sign monitoring, and the new BioButton for up to 60 days of RPM. The BioButton is touted for Covid-19 monitoring. “Temperature checks have proven to be unreliable and even amplified testing (PCR) has proven to be ineffective in identifying the virus in the early days of infection.” The button will be connected to the BioMobile screening survey app which will feed the user the latest CDC health screener and then scan for ‘subtle physiological changes’ in temperature, respiratory rate and heart rate at rest. The app generates a non-PHI report indicating ‘cleared’ or ‘not-cleared’. The BioSticker is 510(k) FDA-cleared; the BioButton is not, but is being marketed as an enterprise solution for employee health clearance. Mobihealthnews

Hand-held ultrasound gets ultra-funding. The Exo hand-held ultrasound snagged a hefty $220 million in Series C funding for a total of over $320 million since last year. Their point-of-care tool includes nano-materials, sensor technology, and advanced signal processing and computation in a platform called Exo Works. Exo is in a crowded field pioneered by GE Healthcare’s Vscan [TTA 27 March] back in 2010, but including Butterfly IQ, Mobisante, and Philips LumifyMobihealthnews

Enovation also approved by Scotland. With our news from Alcuris last week that they were selected by Scottish Digital Telecare as a security-assessed supplier, Enovation (formerly Verklizan), notified your Editors that they also were selected. Our quote from their management is from Andy Grayland, Chief Information Security Officer, Digital Office for Scottish Local Authorities. “The Scottish digital telecare security-assessed suppliers scheme reviewed a submission from Enovation for an Alarm Receiving Centre application. The assessment panel was very impressed with pre-existing security security culture and standards within Enovation. Both this assessment scheme, and Enovation’s positive response to it, will help ensure that vulnerable telecare users across Scotland are protected against the threat posed by cyber criminals when using these services.” 

WellSky to acquire SDOH provider Healthify. WellSky is a provider of software, analytics, and services for community care. Healthify builds and manages accountable networks for SDOH services, working with health plans, providers, and community partners in all fifty states. Previously, Healthify had raised $25.5 million in five rounds from 2013 (Crunchbase). Healthify is the fifth company WellSky has acquired since 2018, the last CarePort Health for $1.4 billion in 2020 (Crunchbase). Terms were not disclosed. Closing anticipated in Q3. The release does not indicate management transitions or HQ location.  

Despite their VA troubles and layoffs, Cerner had a very good quarter indeed: revenue up 10%, adjusted EPS $0.80 versus $0.63, exceeding analyst expectations for both. They laid off 500 employees in the quarter and eliminated 300 open positions, which will deliver $70 million in annualized savings. plus half their owned space is now unneeded so up for sale. Their Department of Defense EHR rollout is going well with 42 commands and 663 locations with 41,000 activated users. The Coast Guard’s deployment will be completed this year. As to VA, “results of the VA’s strategic review focused on governance, training, and readiness rather than Cerner-caused problems.” More in the lead article in HISTalk 8/2/21. Cerner’s announcement, transcript of earnings call on Seeking Alpha

News and deal roundup: another big mental health app funding, Happify Health’s prescription therapy app debuts, Alcuris approved by Scottish Digital Telecare for cybersecurity

It does seem that behavioral health apps are falling from the trees and into pots of gold. Unicorns have become so…everyday. The latest is SonderMind, a Denver-based therapist matchmaking site for both video telehealth or in-person sessions. With a $150 million Series C round, it is claiming a valuation ‘well north’ of $1 billion. Main funders were Drive Capital and PremjiInvest. Previous funding was $32 million since 2017. The new funding will support expansion from the current 10 states to national. SonderMind first asks the prospective patient to complete a short questionnaire on care needs, insurance, and payment information, then connects them to a licensed mental health professional within a day or two. For their approved therapist group, they work with them to determine the types of patients they’d like to treat. FierceHealthcare

Another behavioral health company, Happify Health, announced Ensemble, its first prescription app. Formally called a PDTx (Prescription Digital Therapeutic), it will be for Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) and Generalized Anxiety Disorder (GAD). It’s a cognitive therapy with ‘Anna’, an intuitive support app with a patented dialogue flow. Ensemble is classified as an investigational medical device at this point. Happify plans to seek a 510(k) clearance in the future. It is designed to be used in support of other mental health treatments and can be integrated into a physician’s EHR.

The app’s development was facilitated by a recently renewed FDA guidance issued in April of 2020 that lets digital health companies go to market without clearance for digital health treatments for eight psychiatric disorders including those in Ensemble. Chris Wasden, head of DTx at Happify Health, was interviewed by Mobihealthnews. We note that Happify has been around since 2012 when mental health wouldn’t get you more than one free drink at a digital health conference. In March, they scored a $73 million Series D.

And in the UK, social alarm system Alcuris announced that their Memo Hub, Memo App and the Connec+ platform have been added to the list of Scottish Digital Telecare security-assessed suppliers. They were reviewed as part of cybersecurity for third parties which process personal data. Digital Telecare is part of the Scottish Local Government Digital Office and evaluates suppliers on their business processes as well as requiring independent Penetration testing (PEN testing). In their statement, “Alcuris welcomes the Digital Offices’ “Once for Scotland” approach and recognises the value it provides across Scotland. We would like to see a “Once for the UK” approach adopted and today we have written to the Telecare Services Association (TSA), to ask if they can collaborate with the Digital Office to enable the benefits of their security assessment programme to be available across the rest of the UK.”  Hat tip to Adrian Scaife of Alcuris for the release.

News and deal roundup: Zus Health’s $34M ‘back-end in a box’, Bright Health’s IPO, Lyra Health’s $200M done, Valo Health’s $2.8B SPAC; UK’s Alcuris, Clarity Informatics, GTX test; Google’s health blues, Facebook’s smartwatch

Athenahealth founder’s latest health tech venture lays track. Jonathan Bush’s new venture, Zus Health, is being pitched to tech founders as providing a ‘Lego’ like back-end for startup digital health companies. Variously compared to ‘Build-A-Bear’ or track laying, it’s an ‘in a box’ setup that provides a data record back end, a software development kit (SDK) with tools and services, and a patient interface. Presumably, this will also assist interoperability. Mr. Bush has enlisted an all-star team and is basing outside of Boston in the familiar area of Watertown, Massachusetts. Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) led the $34 million Series A, joined by F-Prime Capital, Maverick Ventures, Rock Health, Martin Ventures, and Oxeon Investments. The financing will be used for engineering the tech stack. Current clients developed in stealth include Cityblock Health, Dorsata, Firefly Health, and Oak Street Health. Not a breath about the revenue model other than ‘partnership’. Make sure you pronounce Zus as ‘Zeus’ (Athena’s father for those who aren’t up on their Greek myths). Zus release, FierceHealthcare

This week’s IPO filing by insurtech/clinic operator Bright Health with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) confirmed earlier reports that the offering will crest over $1 billion [TTA 28 May]: 60 million shares with an initial valuation of $20 to $23 is at a minimum of $1.2 billion. Company valuation is estimated at $14 billion which is about midpoint of earlier estimates. It will trade on the NYSE under BHG. The cherry on the cake is a 7.2 million 30-day share purchase option to their underwriters at the initial IPO price. Timing is not addressed in the release but expect it soon. BHG release, Mobihealthnews

Lyra Health banks an additional $200 million. This week the corporate mental health therapy provider completed their Series F $200M financing backed by Coatue, new investor Sands Capital, plus existing investors, for a total of $675 million to date (Crunchbase). Valuation is now estimated at $4.6 billion. Mental and behavioral health tech remains warm, with the thundercloud on the horizon Teladoc’s myStrength app [TTA 14 May]. Lyra’s strong corporate footprint puts them, along with Ginger, in a desirable place for acquisition by a telehealth provider or payer. Lyra release, FierceHealthcare

Drug discovery and development company Valo Health is going the SPAC route with Khosla Ventures. The special purpose acquisition company (SPAC) Khosla Ventures Acquisition Co. will form with Valo Health a new company (KVAC) with a pro for­ma mar­ket val­ue of approx­i­mate­ly $2.8 bil­lion with an initial cash balance of $750 million including a $168 million PIPE led by Khosla Ventures. Valo’s flagship is the Opal Computational Platform that creates an AI-based platform for drug discovery. The current pipeline has two clin­i­cal-stage assets and 15 pri­or­i­tized pre-clin­i­cal assets across car­dio­vas­cu­lar meta­bol­ic renal, neu­rode­gen­er­a­tion, and oncol­o­gy fields. Khosla has been largely absent from digital health investments. The SPAC route to IPOs has also cooled. Valo release, Mobihealthnews  

And short takes on other news… (more…)

Alcuris appointed as supplier to Spark DPS (UK)

Alcuris, an assistive technology company based in Loughborough (Leicestershire) announced this week that they have been appointed to the Spark Dynamic Procurement System (DPS) (scroll down page) provided by Crown Commercial Services (CCS).

A DPS permits buyers to access framework agreements that meet common purchasing requirements across the UK government. The Spark DPS is for emerging, innovative technologies and

  • Allows customers access to proven new technology innovations which are useful for solving public sector problems
  • Quality and price can be assessed based on individual customer’s requirement
  • A dynamic filtering system, giving customers flexibility based on requirements
  • Fully compliant with UK and EU regulations.

Suppliers on Spark must demonstrate that they can provide at least one new or innovative technology for one or both of ‘Radical’ and ‘Disruptive’ Innovation. Alcuris submitted its Next Generation Telecare Memo service under the Disruptive Innovation category. The Memo Hub service was entered into TechForce 19 as an Activities of Daily Living (ADL) monitoring system with results here [TTA 6 August]. For more information on the Spark Innovation Marketplace and how it works for buyers, there is a webinar on 18 November (information and registration here). Alcuris press release. Hat tip to Adrian Scaife of Alcuris

TechForce 19 follow up: Alcuris’ results on testing Memo Hub (UK)

Often this Editor has been frustrated with lack of interesting follow up to these government initiatives to share with our Readers. Fortunately, Adrian Scaife of Alcuris, has stayed in touch, first on the experience of being a participant, and this week to provide their findings on their tested solution. From the release and the attached white paper, their results in testing the Activities of Daily Living (ADL) Memo service were as follows:

• Positive reassurance for families with the majority creating daily reassurance alerts and 40% creating alerts for events that worry them.
• 80% positive feedback from Memo Hub® users, with the remaining 20% neutral.
• An increase in early preventative interventions by families driven by new insight.
• 40% of care plans provided by Social Care amended due to the insight provided by the Memo service. Care plan size both increased and decreased, the common factor being a better-quality plan with a closer fit to user needs.

The study did not test other features in the Memo Hub suite, such as smart automated alerts, the alarm call safety net, and carer logging.

Alcuris’ press release and Executive Summary are available here. For a full report, email info@alcuris.co.uk

We invite other finalists to send us follow up on their Tech Force 19 studies and experience.

Reflections of a TechForce19 Participant

Ever wonder what it’s like to successfully apply for, and then to deploy your program, as part of a high-stakes challenge? Reader Adrian Scaife, Business Development Manager of Alcuris Ltd., has been on an eight-week merry-go-round on hyperdrive (to mix a few metaphors). We invited him to tell us what it was like after the reports were handed in, and his impressions follow. Thank you, Adrian!

Now the Rapid Feasibility stage has been completed and outcome reports submitted, it’s a good time to sit back and take stock of the last 8 weeks.

It all started in late March when Matt Hancock asked for innovative tech companies to support vulnerable people during the Covid crisis around three themes, Optimising Staffing in Care and Volunteering Sectors, Mental Health and Remote Care. The funding available totalled £500,000 and was planned to be shared across 20 companies.

Even at the start the ambition, the scale and the pace of the initiative were very clear.

Looking back, it is apparent that the initiative has become a brand–TechForce19 – a great name, logo and its own website. The benefit to all is a set of unifying objectives, direction, urgency, and something that people and organisation can come together to support.

The sheer number of organisations involved in the initiative was breath-taking. Funding was from the Department of Health and Social Care along with the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government. It was run by NHSX supported by Public Ltd., the Academic Health Science Networks including the Health Innovation Network in London and other experts from a variety of organisations.

The application process was at speed with a launch date of 24th March and application submission by noon 1st April (and that was the extended deadline!). The application form was thorough in the questions asked particularly around how you would conduct a two-week test to demonstrate that you can solve the challenge(s). We also knew it was going to be scored based on Solution feasibility, Company credibility, Impact, and Digital maturity.

The selection process was equally fast with feedback on the next stage due Friday 4th April. Friday came and went, and we feared the worst. Little did we know at the time that over 1,600 applications had been received. Just before midnight on Saturday an email was received announcing we were through to the interview stage and ours was on Monday. 60 interviews were completed over the next few days.

Just over a week later, confirmation that our proposal had been accepted, one of just 18 participants. Time to deliver on our plan. Just 10 days to plan the project in detail, provide partner training, deliver the hardware, for our partners to collect their referrals and then to deploy the Memo Connected Care Suite. Two weeks of live running. Evaluation and an outcomes report to be submitted by the 18th May.

I must give enormous praise and thanks to our partners for their commitment to deliver when all around them the pressures on their services due to Covid were unbelievable.

So now the Feasibility and Outcomes report has been submitted. We have received some terrific feedback both from families and Social Care staff. Did the project go according to plan? Well not entirely but when do they ever, especially during a national crisis.

One surprise that I shall never forget is Nasdaq, the American stock exchange, wanted to applaud digital innovators globally who were supporting the Covid fight. They promoted the work of TechForce19 on their seven storey Nasdaq Tower in Times Square, New York by highlighting each of the 18 participants.

TechForce19 is an NHSX Covid-19 response initiative, supported by PUBLIC and the AHSN Network. The views expressed in this article are those of the author and not necessarily those of NHSX or its partners.

PUBLIC’s website has profiles on the 17 other TechForce19 participants, including many names familiar to our Readers, such as Just Checking and Buddi. Our earlier article is hereHat tip to Reader Alistair Appleby.

 

 

Virus-(almost) free news: Cera’s $70m raise, Rx.Health’s RxStitch, remote teledentistry to rescue, Alcuris responds, Caravan buys Wellpepper, and Teladoc’s heavy reading

Keeping calm and carrying on (but taking precautions, staying inside, and keyboarding with hands that resemble gator hide), yes, there IS some news that isn’t entirely about COVID-19:

This Editor had put aside the $70 million funding by the UK’s Cera at end of February. What is interesting is that Cera Care is a hybrid–specializing in both supplying home-based care, including dementia care, and providing tech-enabled services for older adults. The funding announcement was timed with the intro of SmartCare, a sensor-based analytics platform that uses machine learning and data analytics on recorded behaviors to personalize care and detect health risks with a reported 93 percent accuracy. It then can advise carers and family members about a plan of action. This sounds all so familiar as Living Independently’s QuietCare also did much the same–in 2006, but without the smartphone app and in the Ur-era of machine learning (what we called algorithms back then).

The major raise supports a few major opportunities: 50 public sector contracts with local authorities and NHS, the rollout of SmartCare, its operations in England and Wales, and some home healthcare acquisitions. Leading the round was KairosHQ, a US-based startup builder, along with investors Yabeo, Guinness Asset Management, and a New York family office. Could a US acquisition be up next?  Mobihealthnews, TechEU

Located on NYC’s Great Blank Way (a/k/a Broadway), Rx.Health has developed what they call digital navigation programs in a SaaS platform that connect various programs and feed information into EHRs. The interestingly named RxStitch engine uses text messages (Next Gen Reminder and Activation Program) or patient portals to support episodes of care (EOC), surgeries, transitions of care (TOC), increasing access to care, telehealth, and closure of care gaps. Their most recent partnership is with Valley Health in northern NJ. Of course they’ve pitched this for COVID-19 as the COVereD initiative that supports education, triage, telehealth, and home-based surveillance as part of the workflow. Rx.Health’s execs include quite a few active for years in the NY digital health scene, including Ashish Atreja, MD.

Teledentistry to the rescue! Last summer, we focused on what this Editor thought was the first real effort to use telemedicine in dentistry, The TeleDentists can support dentists who are largely closing shop for health reasons to communicate with their own patients for follow up visits, screen new patients, e-prescribe, and refer those who are feeling sick to other telehealth providers. For the next six weeks, patients pay only $49 a visit. More information in their release. Hat tip to Howard Reis.

What actions are smaller telehealth companies taking now? Reader and commenter Adrian Scaife writes from Alcuris about how their assistive technology responds to the need to keep in touch with older people living alone at home. Last week their preparations started with giving their customers the option to switch to audio/video conferencing with their market teams. This week, they reviewed how their assistive technology and ADL monitoring can keep older people safe in their homes where they may have to be alone, especially after discharge, yet families and caregivers can keep tabs on them based on activity data. A smart way for a small company to respond to the biggest healthcare challenge of the last 30 years. Release

Even Caravan Health, a management services company for groups of physicians or health systems organizing as accountable care organizations (ACOs) in value-based care programs, is getting into digital health with their purchase of Wellpepper. The eight-year-old company based in Seattle works with health plans to provide members with outpatient digital treatment plans, messaging services, and an alert system to boost communication between care teams and patients. Purchase price was not disclosed, but Wellpepper had raised only $1.2 million in debt financing back in 2016 so one assumes they largely bootstrapped. Mobihealthnews

And if you’re stuck at home and are trying to avoid chores, you can read all 140 pages of Teladoc’s Investor Day presentation, courtesy of Seeking Alpha