News 5/10/16

Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Levyx Inc. closes a $5.4 million Series A round led by OCA Ventures. Levyx’s flagship data engine, Helium, is built for the modern, open-platform commodity hardware data center.

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Somnoware Healthcare Systems closes $9 million in Series A funding to advance sleep medicine. The funding was led by Translink Capital with participation from World Innovation Lab and existing investors.

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Heritage Group closes second Healthcare Innovation Fund at $220 million, exceeding its original fund target by $20 million and surpassing its Healthcare Innovation Fund by $50 million. Heritage Group is backed by 15 leading national healthcare companies.


Announcements and Implementations

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CrowdOptic announces the successful Phase 1 implementation of its software with Cisco Jabber, marking a significant step in establishing CrowdOptic software as the standard in portable telemedicine. CrowdOptic provides software for smart glasses and other wearable computing devices that allows wearers to broadcast live video feeds in real time to any mobile device.


Other

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Researchers at the Yale School of Medicine launch an innovative health information technology platform called Hugo. It is a highly secure cloud-based personal health platform that allows people to access their electronic health records from multiple healthcare systems and synchronize them with a research database. Hugo allows people to contribute information from wearable devices and questionnaires to participate in studies.

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A new University of Washington study suggests mobile phones may help patients monitor lung function. For the study, researchers evaluated a smartphone-based system called SpiroCall, comparing ease of use and validity of the tool against top-tier medical spirometers. Users call a 1-800 number and exhale into the phone and monitor their condition at home.

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Microsoft will purchase 10 million long oligonucleotides from startup Twist Bioscience to encode digital data. The recent convergence of affordable DNA sequencing and the scalability of Twist Bioscience’s silicon-based DNA synthesis technique presents a new opportunity enabling the oldest life form, DNA, to become a viable data storage option. Using DNA as an archival technology avoids two key limitations of traditional digital storage media: limited lifespan and low data density. DNA data storage could last up to 2,000 years without deterioration.

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The coolest thing I have seen in a while: third grader Andrew Calabrese carries his backpack everywhere he goes. In it, he carries his robotic pancreas. The device wasn’t constructed by a medical device company; it hasn’t been approved by regulators. It was built by his father. Jason Calabrese, a software engineer, followed instructions that had been shared online to hack an old insulin pump so it could automatically dose the hormone in response to his son’s blood sugar levels. Mr. Calabrese got the approval of Andrew’s doctor for his son to take the home-built device to school.

The Calabreses aren’t alone. More than 50 people have soldered, tinkered, and written software to make such devices for themselves or their children. The systems—known in the industry as artificial pancreases or closed-loop systems—have been studied for decades, but improvements to sensor technology for real-time glucose monitoring have made them possible.

The Food and Drug Administration has made approving such devices a priority and several companies are working on them. But the years-long process of commercial development and regulatory approval is longer than many patients want, and some are technologically savvy enough to do it on their own.


People

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Apple hires robotics expert Yoky Matsouka to work on its health projects such as Healthkit. Matsouka was one of the co-founders of Google’s X lab and former head of technology at Nest.

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Catalyst Healthcare Advisors expands its executive team. Don Murry joins as vice president of technology consulting and Courtney Condon is the new vice president of sales. Murry and Condon will lead the accelerated growth of technology services.


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