You’re reading the web edition of STAT Health Tech, our guide to how tech is transforming the life sciences. Sign up to get this newsletter delivered in your inbox every Tuesday and Thursday.
The acquisition race heats up in telehealth
Amwell is spending $320 million to acquire a pair of companies — the digital mental health provider SilverCloud Health and Conversa, which uses an automated texting platform to help health systems remotely manage patient care. Combined revenue for Conversa and SilverCloud is expected to be $15 million in 2021, so it’s not a huge boon in terms of new business. But Amwell is pitching the deal as broader play to broaden its services and geographic reach. From a strategy standpoint, the acquisitions seem necessary to compete with Teladoc and other rivals who are also trying to deliver more comprehensive services. But time will tell if combining with these two particular companies will pay off.
FDA nods to a digital future
The FDA made a couple of notable moves in digital health this week: It granted its first-ever breakthrough device designation to a heart failure digital therapeutic developed by Boston-based Biofourmis. The designation could mean faster approval of the company’s BiovitalsHF product, which analyzes physiological data and other information to deliver personalized treatment recommendations. The agency also granted a marketing clearance to a tool developed LifeSignals that helps clinicians monitor patients at home by tracking their heart rate, respiration rate, body posture and other signals.
A new way to visualize the surge in Covid-19 cases
There’s no shortage of ways to visualize the pandemic, but STAT’s Emory Parker created a fresh perspective that illustrates just how alarming recent developments should be. His chart above shows how quickly the weekly average of new cases is changing, and as you can see, the rate is speeding up.
Citations as currency
The last month has seen a smattering of peer-reviewed publications across the spectrum of digital health startups:
- In Pear Therapeutics’ latest publication, it compared medical costs for users before and after using its digital therapeutic for opioid use disorder, finding a difference of more than $2,000 over six months. Caveat: It left out users who stopped using the therapy after one week, who saw an increase in costs.
- A randomized controlled trialof BrainHQ’s digital cognitive training program in veterans affected by mild traumatic brain injury showed statistically significant improvements in cognitive measures after treatment and at 3-month followup compared to the control, but no difference in functional measures.
- Digital physical therapy company Kaia Health released a small study comparing how its digital Motion Coach corrected exercise form for patients with osteoarthritis to physiotherapists, finding the app agreed with human therapists’ recommendations about as often as therapists agreed with each other.
- Digital therapeutics company MedRhythms, raised a $25 million Series B led by Morningside Venturesand Advantage Capital.
- Behavioral health startup SonderMindraised a $150 million Series C led by Drive Capitaland Premji Invest with participation from General Catalyst, Partners Group, Smash Ventures, Kickstart Fund, and F-Prime Capital. The company is now valued at more than $1 billion.
- Talkiatry, another mental health startup, raised a $20 million Series A led by Left Lane Capital. Richard Park, founder of CityMD, also participated in the round.
- Women’s health technology company Eliveraised an $80 million Series C led by BGF. BlackRock Private Equity Partners also participated.
AI drug discovery startup Deep Genomics raised $180 million led by Softbank Vision Fund 2, with participation from Fidelity Management & Research Company and others.
What we’re reading