Cornell University Researchers Develop Point-Of-Care Device That Delivers 10 Minute Stroke Diagnosis

Researchers from Cornell University’s Baker Institute for Animal Health and Department of Biomedical Engineering, along with colleagues from State University of New York, and the New York Presbyterian Hospital have developed a point-of-care device that uses nanoparticles to quickly detect key biomarkers in the blood that could one day help doctors rapidly diagnosis emergency conditions. The technology behind the device has broad implications, as it could theoretically be used for rapid detection of a wide variety of conditions, including stroke, heart attack, acute brain injury, and lung cancers.

Cornell University Researchers Develop Point-Of-Care Device That Delivers 10 Minute Stroke Diagnosis

To test the device, the team chose to focus on the biomarker Neuro-Specific Enolase (NSE), which appears in higher concentrations in stroke patients. In addition to helping diagnose stroke, earlier studies have found that “serum levels of NSE in first few days of ischemic stroke can serve as a useful marker to predict stroke severity and early functional outcome.” The team coated nanoparticles with immobilized enzymes that naturally bind to NSE. The nanoparticles are then exposed to a small drop of blood, where they are able to detect NSE. When a nanoparticle binds to an NSE molecule, it is designed to emit light that researchers can then measure. The more light emitting from a sample, the higher the NSE concentration levels in the blood.

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Welltok Raises $45 Million In New Funding, Acquires Silverlink

Denver-based population health startup Welltok has closed a $45 million funding round led by EDBI, Flare Capital, and Georgian Partners. The new round follows a $37 million Series D that closed in January, and a combined security and equity-based funding round of $21 million raised in May, bringing its total raised for 2015 to a staggering $103 million and its lifetime funding level to $130.2 million.

Welltok Raises $45 Million In New Funding, Acquires Silverlink

While $139 million is notably high, the company has been in operation for six years and has taken an acquisition-based approach to growth and development, which generally requires larger capital outlays than an organic growth strategy. Since its launch, Welltok has acquired: IncentOne (2013), an incentive-based consumer-engagement vendor; Mindbloom (2014), a gamification consumer-engagement vendor; Predilytics (2015), a data analytics vendor focused on consumer behavior; and Zamzee (2015), a consumer-engagement vendor focused on pediatric health and wellness. While financial terms for each of those acquisitions was left undisclosed, the aggressive pace of acquisitions has had a significant impact on Welltok’s funding needs, and helps to contextualize its aggressive 2015 fundraising.

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Propeller Health Signs R&D Partnership With GlaxoSmithKline

Propeller Heath has signed a new R&D agreement with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline to co-develop an inhaler sensor designed to work with GSK’s Ellipta dry-powder inhaler. Propeller Health and GSK are not new business partners. The pair have worked together before on a very similar project developing sensors for GSK’s Diskus dry powder inhaler. That project concluded in July when Propeller Health secured FDA clearance to market a Discus-based medication usage sensor.

The newest round of sensor development efforts are a precursor to larger clinical trials GSK is preparing to conduct, and will support those trials by automatically tracking medication usage within the participant population. Each sensor will capture medication utilization data and then wirelessly transmit this information to a server for analysis by GSK researchers. The trials will give GSK the data it needs, while simultaneously providing Propeller Health with much of the data it needs to secure FDA clearances for the new sensor.

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Scripps Launches Wearables-Powered Population Health Study

A team of researchers working at Scripps Translational Science Institute are launching a new clinical trial that will remotely monitor patient heart rates in order to measure the prevalence of undiagnosed atrial fibrillation, or an irregular heart beat, in the general population. Called the mHealth Screening To Prevent Strokes study, awkwardly abbreviated as mSToPS, the study aims to determine whether routine, at-home heart-rate monitoring is a financially and technically viable way of improving atrial fibrillation diagnosis in high-risk patient populations.

Scripps Launches Wearables-Powered Population Health Study

Researchers will recruit a total of 6,100 participants before the study commences. Enrollment will be limited to women over 65 and men over 55 that are found to be at high risk for having undiagnosed atrial fibrillation. Twenty-one hundred participants will be outfitted with one of several home-monitoring technologies, while the remaining 4,000 will act as a control group. Most of the 2,100 patients selected for home monitoring will be sent home with a transdermal patch-based sensor by iRhythm Technologies. The patch is outfitted with a single lead ECG sensor that is water resistant and can be worn 24 hours a day for up to two weeks. Scripps worked with the startup behind the patch on a previous study, testing the device’s ability to diagnose atrial fibrillation when compared to a traditional Holter monitor. In that study, iRhythm’s patch outperformed the Holter monitor, accurately detecting 96 atrial fibrillation events compared to the Holter monitor’s 61. Researchers from that earlier study concluded, “Physicians who reviewed data from both devices reported reaching a definitive diagnosis 90 percent of the time when using the patch results and 64 percent of the time when using Holter monitor data.” A subset of participants in the new study will also be asked to wear the Amiigo wristband, a newer technology that was also designed to monitor heart rate. While participants wearing the iRhythm’s patch will only wear the device for the first and last two weeks of the study, participants using the Amiigo will be asked to wear the device as much as possible for the entire four-month study.

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New Personal Coach and Fitness Tracking Startup Raises $13.4 Million Series A

Menlo Park, CA-based activity tracker startup GOQii, pronounced go-key, has closed a $13.4 million Series A funding round led by prominent digital health investment firm New Enterprise Associates and Chinese mobile communications developers Cheetah Mobile. The round also included investments from DSG Consumer Partners, Great Wall Club, and a number of angel investors. Since its launch in 2014, GOQii has raised several angel-backed seed rounds, though funding totals from those rounds were not disclosed.

New Personal Coach and Fitness Tracking Startup Raises $13.4 Million Series A

GOQii is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur and angel investor Vishal Gondal. After selling a video game startup to Disney for $100 million in 2011, Gondal has been investing in businesses and working on his own next project, GOQii. The new company is an activity tracker and personal coaching app rolled into one. The team behind GOQii claims that the platform was designed from the ground up to deliver sustained end-user engagement, something that both activity trackers and personal fitness apps have struggled to deliver.

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