Global deals roundup: bubbly Butterfly blank check, Imprivata-FairWarning, Virta Health, OTV, WithMe Health, Perfood, Sofía

Christmas is definitely bubbly in the global tub, in the year-end rush to finalize those Big Deals and Corral That Cash.

‘Blank check’ acquisitions accelerate. The latest digital health SPAC (special purpose acquisition company) is hand-held ultrasound developer Butterfly Network with Longview Acquisition Corp. Longview, a SPAC sponsored by Glenview Capital Management, LLC, brings the listing on the NYSE, Butterfly brings the name and the tech. The deal is valued at $1.5 billion and is expected to have an estimated $584 million in cash after closing expected in Q1 next year. The combined company will trade under BFLY. Existing investors remain and will convert to common stock shareholders. Founder Dr. Jonathan Rothberg will be chairman and largest controlling shareholder. The company’s product is the Butterfly iQ+ hand-held ultrasound probe and mobile software. priced at $1,999 plus a ‘membership cost’ of a standard $99/year. Release This follows on last week’s three-way SPAC with GigCapital2 Inc., UpHealth Holdings, and Cloudbreak Health LLC [TTA 26 Nov].

Data security is hot too. Imprivata, which specializes in digital identity management for healthcare organizations to secure workflows and IT systems, just picked up the FairWarning Technologies insider threat prevention, patient privacy, and data security platform. FairWarning has worked with leading US health systems such as Mount Sinai Health System (NYC), Memorial Hermann (Houston), plus in the UK NHS Lothian and NHS Homerton. Not surprisingly as both companies are in the business of privacy, terms of the deal, timing, and leadership team were not disclosed. Healthcare IT News, Imprivata release.

Virta Health gained a healthy Series D with a $65 million raise, led by Sequoia Capital Global Equities. Virta now has a total funding of $231 million and now has joined the unicorns with a valuation of $1.1 bn. Virta’s treatment using remote patient coaching and carbohydrate dietary restriction reverses Type 2 diabetes, reducing A1C and eliminating the patient’s requirement for diabetes medications. Bloomberg, Virta release

Israel’s Olive Tree Ventures has rebranded itself as OTV and announced the closing of a $170 million fund with a total value of $170M. It is Israel’s first and only primarily digital health venture capital fund. Joining the company is a new Head of Asia Pacific, Jose Antonio Urrutia Rivas, for planned expansion into that market. Release

WithMe Health, an app-based personalized medication guidance company, raised $20 million in a Series B funding led by OMERS Ventures with existing investor Oak HC/FT and new investors Section 32, Shulman Ventures, and MTS Ventures. Release

In Germany, digital therapeutics startup Perfood GmbH raised a €5 million ($5.9 million) Series A to launch its first prescription therapeutics next year. Boehringer Ingelheim Venture Fund led the round, with UV-Cap and investiere. Their personalized nutrition products based on DNA sequencing and gut microbiomes are prescribed as alternatives or add-ons to conventional medications. Their first product available for prescription (in Germany only) will be sinCephalea for treating episodic migraine. MillionFriends is their weight management program based on coaching, gut microbiome analysis, and nutrition management. Mobihealthnews

And in Latin America, Sofía, a Mexico City-based telemedicine and insurance startup, gained a $19 million Series A funding, led by Index Ventures with Calvary Ventures, Kaszek Ventures, and Ribbit Capital. Started by three friends at the Instituto Tecnológico Autónomo de México (ITAM), the company launched with a COVID-19 related telemedicine service, grew quickly to 10,000 users, then moved into insurance, using a core group of 100 physicians in the D.F. in 70 different specialist areas. TechCrunch

UK news roundup: Health Innovation Manchester winners, donate Phones for Patients in isolation, British Patient Capital funds SV Health with $65m, Memory Lane on the Isle of Man, SEHTA and Innovate UK briefings

A potpourri of health tech and funding news from the UK

Health Innovation Manchester announced the four winners of its 2020 Momentum Call. While the competition was initially scheduled to close in February (see Manchester home page), it was apparently delayed to address priority areas for the COVID-19 response. The winners are Cambio CDS T-MACS (risk evaluation for cardiac), Doc Abode (workforce deployment), Gendius diabetes AI-Intellin app, and Howz for Health (predictive ADLs). Two additional in-progress projects were halted due to the virus.  Each winner was awarded £50,000. Release on BuildingBetterHealthcare.com.

The Phones for Patients initiative helps isolated patients–for instance, those hospitalized with COVID or other infectious diseases–connect with family and loved ones by phone. This is made possible by temporary phones, older models donated by individuals and companies, which are wiped of all data and distributed to patients in NHS hospitals and care homes. This includes cables and chargers.

As a nonprofit initiative, Phones for Patients is organized by Bridgeway Security Solutions. Bridgeway secures, manages, and deploys communication and other apps to these devices for the NHS. Imprivata, a digital identity company that develops access management solutions for healthcare, is working with Bridgeway to secure mobile licenses and the software for the phones. 

According to Bridgeway’s managing director Jason Holloway,  “Bridgeway is providing this service free of charge, as our contribution to the effort to defeat COVID-19. We are delighted that Imprivata has been supportive and keen to be involved from the start. Using the Imprivata Mobile software has enabled us to process devices much more quickly, and therefore get them to the people that need them. We have had many heart-warming messages of gratitude and thanks from people working in care homes and in some cases, even from patients themselves saying how much they valued the service.” 

So far, over 8,300 devices have been donated. Both companies and individuals are invited to be part of this ongoing effort. Imprivata representative Melloney Jewell has advised that individuals can donate old phones, cables, and chargers through their JustGiving page.  Companies should go to the Phones for Patients website, review the requirements, fill out the form on the donation page or email donate@phonesforpatients.uk

In funding news, British Patient Capital committed $65 million to SV Health Investors’ latest fund, SV7 Impact Medicine Fund (IMF). SV7 is targeted to fund biotech companies producing high impact precision medicine drugs for poorly treated diseases. According to the release, the commitment increases British Patient Capital’s exposure to life sciences and health technology, building on a commitment to the Dementia Discovery Fund in 2018.

The Isle of Man’s Memory Lane Games, a charity and research partner with Hospice Isle of Man, launched their free app for iOS and Android on 14 July. The app features local nostalgia and familiar places, including visual images from Manx artists and photographers. There are also games based on popular themes like music, TV, animals, history, and sports which will be added to weekly. Hospice Isle of Man will also run proof-of-concept studies on the Memory Lane Games apps later this year to determine outcomes for improvements to the lives of dementia patients and carers. Release on News-Medical.net. Memory Lane Games is also an entrant in Zurich International Insurance’s Innovation Championships. Facebook

SEHTA is running free briefing webinars this week for the Innovate UK Biomedical Catalyst Competition. £30 million grant funding is available to UK health & life science SMEs. This is for early and late-stage projects with length from 12-36 months and total project costs between £250,000 and £4 million. Innovate UK can provide 70% of total project costs for SMEs. Previous webinars have been recorded. More information here Information from Innovate UK on how to apply for funding here on Gov.UK, though from 2018.