Theranos Founder Elizabeth Holmes Charged with Fraud
Elizabeth Holmes and former President Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani raised money from investors to found Theranos with a promise to revolutionize drug testing. But, since 2003, Holmes has been elaborately exaggerating or making false claims about the startup’s “technology, business, and financial performance,” according to the SEC.
The then 19-year-old Holmes dropped out of college to start a company that would save lives with a technological advancement that would make cheaper and more efficient medical tests. Theranos reached a value of $9 billion dollars until a 2015 Wall Street Journal article questioned its testing methods and spurred the company to void two years of blood tests and scrap their methods entirely.
The SEC claims the company misled partners about its technology and revenue projections, as well as falsely informed investors that regulatory approval for its tech was voluntary. While Holmes is resolving these claims by relinquishing control of the company and paying a $500,000 fine, Balwani must still meet the SEC in federal court.
Fit4D and Humana Work Together With High-Risk Diabetes Patients
Fit4D, a diabetes management company, has initiated a program expansion with Humana to bring the company’s personalized diabetes coaching to high-risk Humana members in the Broward County, Florida area.
“We are delighted to expand our partnership with Humana and serve Broward County,” says David Weingard, CEO of Fit4D. “According to the American Diabetes Association, Hispanics comprise 23% of Florida’s diabetes population and 22% are seniors. The expansion enables Fit4D to continue to fulfill its aim of improving the health and well-being of people living with diabetes, and the growing Hispanic and senior populations in South Florida. Diabetes is a complex disease that requires personalized attention on a 24×7 basis, and our diabetes coaching service empowers-self management while offering virtual education and support.”
This is an expansion on Humana’s Bold Goal to help those in the Broward community be 20% healthier by 2020 and will now reach even more members.
GlaxoSmithKline Buys Out Novartis For $13 Billion
In an industry shocker, GlaxoSmithKline decided to buy Novartis out of its consumer healthcare joint venture for $13 billion, gaining control of premium payout products like Sensodyne toothpaste, Panadol headache tablets, muscle gel Voltaren, and Nicotinell patches. CEO Emma Walmsley seems to be making a smart decision despite the lower selling point of OTC products as opposed to prescription drugs, as she’s taking on well-known brands with an existing customer following. According to Bloomberg, Walmsley stated, “The proposed transaction addresses one of our key capital allocation priorities and will allow GSK shareholders to capture the full value of one of the world’s leading consumer healthcare businesses.”
The move comes shortly after GSK dropped a proposed $20 billion sale of Pfizer’s consumer healthcare business. With their shares on the rise and money in hand, Novartis will be expanding its business with both acquisitions and new technology.
New Partnership Provides Better Proactive Care Plans
BaseHealth, a data technology platform that specializes in predictive analysis of health and disease risk and interventional management, has partnered with Banner Health, one of the largest health system’s in the U.S., to better identify rising health risks within populations and actionable clinical interventions. Using machine learning and data on health indicators for more than 42 common chronic and acute diseases, BaseHealth can provide Banner Health with precision insights that allow clinicians and health managers to form customized, proactive care plans for their plan members designed to intervene identified risk factors.
“BaseHealth allows us to target one member at a time with solutions catered to that individual,” Michael Parris, Senior Director for Business Intelligence and Analytics at Banner Health, said in a statement. “These actionable insights can change the course of patients’ lives and that’s incredibly exciting.” The new technology has been implemented on 50,000 of the network’s Medicare Advantage members, helping Banner Health take a more forward-thinking, scientific approach to population health and management of rising risk.
Clinical Drug-Focused AI Company Wins Funding
twoXAR, a startup Artificial Intelligence company that catalyses data-rich drug discovery projects, has received its first-round $10 million financing, led by SoftBank Ventures. Co-founder and CEO Andrew A. Radin explains that the proceeds will be used to recognize and aid preclinical drug candidates for pressing, chronic diseases such as diabetes, liver cancer, and rheumatoid arthritis, as well as forge new partnerships and support new hires.
twoXAR uses AI technology to tease out new disease biology pathways, identifying promising drug candidates in as little as three months. “Traditionally, building a portfolio of drug programs requires hundreds of millions of dollars and takes many years in the biopharmaceutical industry,” says Radin in a blog post. “The convergence of available biomedical data, affordable cloud computing, and advances in algorithms is now enabling companies to build these drug portfolios for an order of magnitude less money and in a fraction of the time it traditionally takes.”
The team then validates them through preclinical studies and works with partners to bring them into the clinic. The company is no stranger to these partnerships. In 2016, it signed a drug discovery deal with the University of Chicago in the field of atherosclerosis, Stanford for liver disease, and Mount Sinai Medical in the area of diabetic neuropathy. Last year, they struck a deal with Japanese drugmaker, Santen, for a glaucoma program.
Health Monitor Network Celebrates 35 Successful Years
Health Monitor Network (HMN) is celebrating 35 years as the nation’s leading Direct to Patient education and engagement provider. The company’s print, digital, and mobile patient education products facilitate dialogue between patients and healthcare professionals and can be seen in healthcare professionals’ offices around the country. HMN is best known for delivering information on dozens of conditions ranging from diabetes, heart health, arthritis, and cancer to Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP) and Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF).
Health Monitor Network provides award-winning content to tens of millions of patients through 400,000 healthcare providers’ (HCPs) and 200,000 physician offices—and you can expect to see the number of publications, posters, and digital products in waiting and exam rooms nationwide spike in 2018 as the company continues to grow.
“Our growth has been attributed to high-quality educational products for patients that generate exceptional ROI for our customers. We have a 90% renewal rate and a very strong proven track record,” says Ken Freirich, President. “Health Monitor Network’s culture, which puts creativity, flexibility, and entrepreneurship at the forefront, has created an environment that embraces employee passions to produce the very best products while providing outstanding service to all of our key stakeholders.”
Walmart in Early Talks to Buy Humana
In December of 2017, CVS Health announced a $69 billion deal to buy insurer, Aetna. Then in March, Cigna purchased Express Scripts in a $52 billion deal. Now the Wall Street Journal reports that Walmart is in preliminary negotiations with Humana and that these include a number of options, one of which is acquisition.
Humana, which reported $53.8 billion in revenue last year, has already been partnering with Walmart on Medicare drugs since 2005. While Humana currently has its own pharmacy-benefit manager (reporting its own $21 billion in revenue last year), an acquisition by Walmart serves to highlight the continuing trend toward partnerships between health service providers and retailers with the aim of beating back the competitive threat and healthcare disruption of retail-giant Amazon.
Soon after talks were confirmed, shares of Anthem, UnitedHealthcare, and Medicaid-provider Centene rose in pre-market trading. According to CNBC, should Walmart make a move to acquire Humana, attention will then be focused on the remaining health insurers. The expectation is that other large retailers will look into the benefits of this type of partnership—and the wave of healthcare consolidations will continue to change the healthcare environment. At print time, it should be noted that Walmart’s early talks with Humana may or may not lead to acquisition. Still, the foundation for health service via partnerships is set and it’s safe to say that more is to come.