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General Catalyst, A16z back Hippocratic AI for $50 million
Hippocratic AI — a new venture launching out of stealth today with a $50 million seed investment from General Catalyst and Andreessen Horowitz — aims to investigate the potential role of large language models in health care. Founders Munjal Shah and Meenesh Bhimani tell me their current goals are exploratory: researching and developing a large language model that’s tuned to health care topics, figuring out how to test it against a wide range of knowledge benchmarks, and measuring its bedside manner.
The rival venture funds appear to be heavily involved in the startup: Hippocratic has tapped into both funds’ health system and payer networks, and General Catalyst said managing partner Hemant Taneja helped create the company.
“Us and the rest of the world woke up about the same time,” Shah said. “What would happen if we just had an infinite supply of health care workers…what if we gave every person in the country a free dietitian?”
Exclusive: Included Health ventures into home care
Virtual care company Included Health is partnering with DispatchHealth to offer on-demand, in-home care in Denver and Phoenix, company execs tell me. Included typically sells its services to self-insured employers and health plans, who can now decide to offer in-home care to their beneficiaries starting in the summer. The two companies are ironing out any last issues with referrals and integrating medical records systems.
“Ultimately what people want is the convenience of virtual — and they want virtual for everything that can be virtual care — but sometimes health care has to be delivered in-person,” said Included chief health officer Ami Parekh.
Included plans to add more home-health partnerships with companies other than Dispatch, which doesn’t yet operate nationwide. “Our goal is to reduce fragmentation, not increase it,” Parekh said.
Inside Menlo Ventures’ business model bootcamp
I recently spoke to Menlo Ventures‘ Greg Yap about the health tech pitches that come across his desk. Too often, he said, founders come to him with great ideas but no idea about how to get paid — nor who they’d talk to at payers and health systems that could make or break their business. An inability to articulate, or even come up with, a viable payment model is “is the biggest reason I say no,” Yap said. Even if their tech could help patients, “the vast majority of them cannot adequately get paid by the health care system.”
That’s why he and MDisrupt’s Ruby Gadelrab whipped up a two-day fellowship for 30 hopeful health tech entrepreneurs eager to learn the ins and outs of negotiating with hospitals and payers.
“If the future builders of our health care are coming from outside health care, how on earth are we going to empower them?” Gadelrab said. “There is this mismatch between what the health systems want from digital health, and what the digital health companies are actually producing today.”
Read more about their bootcamp here.
A conversation with Masimo’s CEO
My colleague Lizzy Lawrence chatted with Joe Kiani, head of a company challenging Apple in a series of legal battles alleging that the company stole trade secrets to develop its Apple Watch. That recently ended in a mistrial.
“To have a hung jury surprised me. I did not see that coming. We think it was unusual jury dynamics. We don’t think that will happen again. And we’re gonna go back and retry it,” Kiani said. “We have to protect our IP. Without protection of our IP, it’s easy for companies with much greater resources to squash us. So we don’t have a choice in this matter.”
How an ultrasound device could unlock cancer treatment
A a recent study in the Lancet suggests that an ultrasound implanted in patients’ skulls could increase the concentration of drugs in their brains, Lizzy reports. The Northwestern University-led study — which examined just 17 patients — is the first in-human trial of the device manufactured by Carthera and focused on glioblastoma.
Lead author Adam Sonabend said there aren’t many treatment options after doctors surgically remove tumors — radiation doesn’t always work, and chemotherapy drugs aren’t always able to cross the blood-brain barrier. “The drugs that we are left with that do cross the blood-brain barrier are not necessarily sufficient or the most powerful,” Sonabend said. “This is part of the reason why these tumors always come back.”
How health data rules fall short post-Roe
The White House’s attempts to protect health data from being used against clinicians and patients seeking abortions and reproductive care may not go far enough to stanch the effects of abortion bans across the country, three health information experts write for STAT’s First Opinion. Specifically, it doesn’t address potentially sensitive information that might be generated outside of health systems and payers — like super market data revealing the sales of pregnancy tests, for instance.
“Stalkerware is epidemic, a well-known tool of domestic violence and is already being used to track those seeking reproductive care,” wrote Duke‘s Eric Perakslis and Jessilyn Dunn, and Well Made Health‘s Kate McMillan.
What we’re reading
- Royal Philips will pay $62 million to settle China bribery probe, Wall Street Journal
- Future directions for offering contraceptives virtually, Health Affairs
- Ketamine clinics’ bust serves as warning of business challenge facing psychedelic therapy, STAT