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A first-of-its-kind bet for an Alphabet spinout
Alphabet life science spinout Verily announced plans to make its first major acquisition — of SignalPath, a Raleigh-based maker of clinical trials software. Verily will use the purchase to increase its appeal to research sites and speed its efforts on decentralized studies, Amy Abernethy, who leads Verily’s clinical research business, told Erin. Abernethy is steering Baseline — the company’s showpiece research and evidence-generation platform — by working to assemble a portfolio of studies and uncover new treatments for diseases. The acquisition will also boost Verily’s nascent presence in North Carolina, where the company already has a smattering of employees.
Lung cancer detection AI gets a boost from J&J
Optellum, which earlier this year received FDA clearance for its AI-powered clinical support tool that helps doctors diagnose lung cancer, has a new partnership with Johnson & Johnson’s Lung Cancer Initiative, a multi-disciplinary effort to improve detection and treatments. Optellum’s Virtual Nodule Clinic identifies lung CT Scans that indicate risk of cancer, with the goal of identifying and treating illness early — potentially even before cancer has developed.
Government funding for telehealth expansion
The Biden Administration on Wednesday announced $19 million in new funding to expand telehealth in rural and underserved areas. The money will be distributed to 36 recipients. Programs funded include a $4.3 million effort to create mentorship programs to train and support primary care providers in the treatment of complex conditions like long Covid and substance use disorder.
3D-printed brain tumors
Researchers at Tel Aviv University developed a method for 3D-printing “active and viable” glioblastoma tumors based on samples from real patients, according to a new paper in Science Advances. Cancer treatments are frequently tested on samples grown in lab dishes, an environment is so different from the body it might cause the cancer cells to behave abnormally, the researchers say. The 3D-printed tumors, though, include a system of blood vessels through which drugs and blood can flow, simulating a more human environment. The printed tumors could be used to test experimental drugs or existing treatments to see which would work best for a particular patient.
The latest deals
- Commure, which launched in May with the goal of building a standardized health data framework, announced plans to acquire HCA Healthcare’s EHR software company PatientKeeper. HCA is also investing an undisclosed amount in Commure and partnering with VC backer General Catalyst to identify potential collaborations between HCA and its other companies.
- Inovalon, which provides cloud-based software solutions for the health care industry, will be acquired by a consortium led by private equity firm Nordic Capital in a deal worth $7.3 billion.
- Rendever, maker of a virtual reality tool designed to reduce social isolation among seniors, was awarded $2 million from the National Institute on Aging. The company is using the funds in partnership with UC Santa Barbara to study its platform in seniors and across various levels of cognitive impairment.
The latest C-suite shuffles
- AI-powered health navigation platform Buoy Health freshened up its C-suite, hiring former HumanaVP of Medicaid Adrienne McFadden as CMO, former Piaggio Fast Forward CFO Brian Kendall as CFO, and former SVP of product management at The Knot, David Lifson, as CPO.
- Point Health, a digital health navigation platform, appointed Doug Bain its Chief Growth Officer. Bain was previously CGO at Adhere Health.
- Virtual care platform Wheel named Tim Kollas, a former sales and business development leader at Amazon Care, its new CCO.