Jawbone Wins First Major Decision In Legal Saga With Fitbit

This Tuesday, a judge presiding over one of the lawsuits between Jawbone and Fitbit issued a key ruling in Jawbone’s favor, ordering several former Jawbone employees to hand over confidential corporate records that they were accused of stealing and delivering to Fitbit. Jawbone and Fitbit have been embroiled in a very public legal battle since May of this year, when Jawbone filed a lawsuit charging Fitbit with an elaborate scheme to steal its trade secrets and future business development plans by hiring Jawbone staff and then encouraging them to download sensitive information before quitting.

Jawbone Wins First Major Decision In Legal Saga With Fitbit

The decision, announced this week by the Superior Court in California, lends credibility to Jawbone’s allegations and establishes a disclosure framework that will shed light on how much content was stolen from Jawbone by these employees. In court documents filed last week, Jawbone reported that 18,000 documents had already been returned as part of an earlier deal negotiated by Fitbit to prevent the courts from auditing the employee’s computers and records.

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Rock Health Dissects Consumer Digital Health Trends In New Report

Rock Health publishes findings from a national survey it conducted to measure overall consumer adoption of various digital health technologies. The new report is a summary of experiences and opinions expressed by over 4,000 consumers interviewed for the study, a group that Rock Health says is statistically representative of the entire US adult population.

Rock Health Dissects Consumer Digital Health Trends In New Report

To quantify adoption rates for the major consumer digital health categories, survey respondents were asked which of the following items they had personally used "or performed in the past: researching online health information about diseases or symptoms; reading online doctor reviews; using apps that support health tracking, such as diet apps or fitness apps; wearable fitness trackers; telemedicine services; and consumer-focused genetic testing. The survey found that searching for diseases and symptoms was far and away the most popular digital health category, with 71 percent of respondents reporting that they had searched for health conditions in the past. Fifty percent reported that they had read reviews on their doctors, while all other categories had overall adoption rates under 20 percent.

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Theranos Continues Its Sparring Match With The Wall Street Journal

Laboratory vendor newcomer Theranos has been a media darling since soon after its 19-year old founder dropped out of Stanford to launch the company. Claiming to have engineered a lab test analyzer that can produce accurate test results cheaper, faster, and with far less blood than any other analyzer currently available on the market, the company’s spectacular claims drew both excitement and skepticism from an industry that’s ripe for innovation, but that’s more accustomed to disappointment. Theranos fanned the fire of this skepticism by flatly refusing to release details about its new invention, specifically details that would convince doctors that results from the Theranos lab analyzer were as accurate as any other. Rather than meet these challenges to its technology directly, Theranos side-stepped the questions, citing a need to protect proprietary secrets and pointing concerned members of the clinical community to its recently acquired FDA clearance, which only investigates a blood test for Herpes, but which Theranos used as evidence that its testing process in general is safe and effective.

Theranos Continues Its Sparring Match With The Wall Street Journal

The back-and-fourth between Theranos and the clinical community came to a fevered pitch last week when Pulitzer Prize-winning investigative journalist John Carreyrou published a scathing story in the Wall Street Journal on Thursday claiming that the company grossly misrepresents the capabilities of its new lab analyzer, reporting that while its marketing material suggests it can be used for a wide variety of tests, the company only uses its own analyzer for 15 of the 240 different blood tests it performs, while the remainder are done by traditional lab analyzers. Even more alarming, Carreyrou reports that CMS sent Theranos a batch of samples to test as a means of validating its testing process. According to interviews with former employees, Theranos split the CMS samples and ran them through both their own analyzer and a traditional analyzer, coming up with significantly different results on some tests. Theranos then threw out its own analyzer’s results and sent CMS the results from the traditional analyzer instead.

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Figure 1 Raises $5 Million To Ramp Up Its Instagram-Like Medical Image Sharing Service

Digital health startup Figure 1 announces that it has closed a $5 million Series A funding round led by returning investor Union Square Ventures. The round also included investments from returning investors Version One Ventures, Graph Ventures, and Rho Canada, as well as new investors Allen & Co and a number of angel investors. The new round is Figure 1’s fourth investment and brings its total raised to $13.5 million. The startup took in a $2.5 million venture round in August of this year, a separate $4 million Series A in 2014, and a $1.65 million seed round in 2013.

Figure 1 Raises $5 Million To Ramp Up Its Instagram-Like Medical Image Sharing Service

Figure 1 launched a medical image sharing social media app in 2013 described as Instagram for doctors. The platform allows providers to share medical images with a growing community of clinical end users for help diagnosing a condition, or simply to share details from an unusual case. Images and possible diagnosis are then discussed among the sites users, essentially taking a crowd-sourcing approach to a traditional consultation. User credentials and medical licensure is verified and displayed within the app, so the feedback exchanged on the site has some credibility, though the general public is still welcome to join and comment on images, their accounts are just unverified and do not display medical qualifications.

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Despite Lingering FDA Issues, 23andMe Raises $115 Million Series E on $1.1 Billion Valuation

23andMe finalizes its Series E funding round, which closed out at $115 million. The round was led by Fidelity Management & Research Company, with support from new investors Casdin Capital, WuXi Healthcare Ventures, and Xfund, as well as returning investors Illumina, New Enterprise Associates, MPM Capital, and Google Ventures. The consumer genetics testing company has been fundraising all summer, announcing in June that it had secured $80 million of a planned $150 million Series E round. While the company did not hit its $150 million target, the fresh capital couldn’t come at a better time for 23andMe as regulatory issues force it to pivot its business plan nearly 10 years after its launch.

In 2006, 23andMe launched with the goal of providing consumers direct access to tests that could explain their unique genetic makeup and the health conditions that variances would make them more susceptible to. This followed an era of explosive DNA discoveries that included the strong link between BRCA1 and BRCA2 genetic mutations and risk for ovarian or breast cancer in 1994, and the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003. Then a small startup run by Anne Wojcicki, the now ex-wife of Google founder Sergey Brin, 23andMe hoped to capitalize on this research by offering DNA sequencing and risk profiles to the general public. That goal carried 23andMe through its first seven years of growth until in 2013, backed by a $60 million Series D, the company began a national advertising campaign that drew the attention of the FDA. 23andMe received what amounted to a cease and desist letter, informing it that if it continued marketing genetic health information to consumers without FDA approval, it would be breaking the law. Wojcicki was in the middle of a divorce, and her Washington DC director of regulatory affairs had just quit.

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