Newsletter: We <3 Innovators | February 14th, 2022View All articles
We <3 Innovators
Happy Valentine’s Day to all you lovers out there.
Can I be honest with you?
This is my least favorite “holiday” by far.
I have a theory that this is one of the unhappiest times of the year.
If you’re “in love”, then there’s this pressure that falls out of the sky, usually about 24 hours before Valentine’s Day.
You’ve just been made aware that you have to prove your love to your significant other by finding that perfect gift or getting that coveted reservation.
And if you’re not in a relationship, then you feel like you should be out hustling, trying to find one.
Why? So that you too can be miserable trying to prove your love on this one day?
It’s a weird thing.
Am I just cynical? Let me know.
I do love my job, my team, and the companies we work with though.
Want to give a quick shoutout to just a few of the companies we’ve loved over the years that love us back (contractually speaking).
Onto more love— of the digital therapeutics variety…
CB Insights State of Digital Health report is shining light on the trends of 2021 and where we’re headed in 2022.
Some of the major takeaways:
- $57.2B in reeled in by digital health startups. That’s up 79% from 2020.
- Mental Health funding jumped 139%. Remember Cerebral? One area to keep your eye on.
- $3.4B in digital therapeutics funding.
- 15-month median time moving from Series C to D. Late-stages companies are making it happen faster than ever before.
- 85 total unicorns, up 49% YoY. 13 appeared in Q4 with 77% coming out of the good ol’ US of A. 6/13 of those unicorns were telehealth. And that’s the other area to keep eyes glued to. Huge gains.
- Digital therapeutics funding had a ball in Q4 of 2021. See below.
SPACS Falling FLAT
What’s a love story without a little rejection?
Though digital therapeutics loved 2021. SPACs, especially in the second half, didn’t.
We discussed the bear in the room last time. And though biotech has been getting hit hard, MedTech hasn’t been able to avoid the decline of SPAC deals either.
In fact, SPAC deals have been falling apart all over the place, but in our industry the two biggest deals to go sour have been the following:
- Val-health nixed its $750M deal with Khosla Ventures’ in November 2021. Looks like they’re interested in a series C that could position them to go public on their own, by year’s end.
- HeartFlow and Longview parted ways earlier this month due to “unfavorable market conditions”, in a deal that was estimated at $2.8B in total equity.
The market is competitive. Cutthroat. We all know that.
After a BOOM with $160B raised on US exchanges in 2021, things are definitely slowing down.
600+ SPACs are scrambling to see through the dream they started.
When Doing It For The 'Gram Goes Wrong
Eli Lilly is in the hot seat again.
At the end of last year, the company received a billet-doux letter regarding a drug informercial for Emgality, which lacked any risk information about the treatment.
This time— for its Instagram post about its type 2 diabetes mellitus drug, Trulicity.
The FDA sent a letter because of the misleading information on the safety and effectiveness of the treatment.
The video has since been deleted, but the FDA held onto the damning evidence via screenshots.
According to the FDA, the upbeat music, fast-changing and colorful cutscenes are in opposition of the serious side effects of the drug. Also, the risk info is rushed and difficult to read, not even giving a chance to consumers interested in understanding potential health risks.
“These violations are especially concerning from a public health perspective because the promotional communication creates a misleading impression regarding the safety and effectiveness of Trulicity, which is a drug with multiple serious, potentially life-threatening risks, including a boxed warning for the risk of thyroid C-cell tumors,” said FDA.
CAR T Cell Success Story
The success story of Doug Olson and his treatment for chronic lymphocytic leukemia is both fascinating and baffling.
It’s also changing the way we think of combatting cancer.
In 2010 Olson’s oncologist, Dr. David Porter out of the University of Pennsylvania, suggested he be one of the first to try out CAR T cell therapy to fight off the cancer that wasn’t waning, even after 4 rounds of chemo.
Fast forward to now and Olson’s cancer is gone— all courtesy of CAR T cell therapy and its ability to reprogram T cells to fight off cancer.
The treatment hasn’t been successful with all patients.
In fact, out of all the people that have undergone CAR T cell therapy for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, Olson is only one of two to remain cancer-free.
The biggest question here is whether the cancer has actually been removed entirely or if the T cells are still just patrolling the body and are repeatedly destroying the cancer when it does appear.
Initially only 25-35% of CAR T cell recipients with chronic lymphocytic leukemia have been in complete remission— but the number is getting higher.
Success, even on a small scale, is always good.
Keep a look out for more stories like this with immunotherapy at the forefront of cancer success stories.
Solid tumors are next on the T cell hitlist.
EKG— Everywhere You Want To Be
AliveCor recently launched the KardiaMobile Card— its Bluetooth enabled, credit-card sized, FDA approved, EKG on-the-go.
The single-lead personal EKG has the ability to provide an accurate, medical grade EKG in just 30 seconds. It can also synch with your smartphone and provide analysis on your heart’s health.
All of this for $149, included is a membership to KardiaCare.
Just wanted to say thanks to my incredible team. I love you all.
Remember back when we were taping suckers to Valentine’s Day cards a few years ago?
You guys are the best. It’s incumbent on leaders to always say they “have the best teams”. You all have no clue.
There’s going to be a lot more to come this year. Be on the lookout.
Happy Valentine’s Day.
I love you,
Upcoming Event: Texas Life Sciences Forum
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