We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
This week, small UK genetics company Genomics, raised £25m from investors and announced a collaboration with US pharmaceuticals giant, Vertex. This latest round of funding, brings the total raised to date to £36m, since its inception in 2014. The Oxford based biotech organisation is in good company as the likes of Woodford Investment Management and Invesco Perpetual are amongst those who have backed its effort to find a way to use genetic information to improve drug development. Led by four of the country’s leading geneticists, the company’s algorithms process and analyse billions of sets of human genetic data collected from research studies around the world. As part of the three-year collaboration with Vertex, Genomics will work alongside its scientists on a number of specific diseases to help find new drugs and the additional investment will be used to expand their headcount from 40-60 within the year amongst other endeavors. Exciting times for Genomics.
It’s been a busy week for investment in the health-tech space, as across the pond, US based One Medical announced a new cash infusion from the Carlyle Group worth $350m. The new funds are set to go towards a serious expansion for the company, including doubling its 72 offices across seven states in the US (and possibly new markets?). One Medical is a members-only technology platform offering an array of concierge medical services, including same-day scheduling, virtual doctor visits and reminders for important checkups. This platform operates as a direct to consumer platform as well as medi-care for organisations such as Uber and Adobe. One Medical’s platform is built on algorithms and machine learning to pull together new information and help patients have a better experience at the doctor’s office. The company was recently valued at $1billion and, this latest investment round takes total funding value to $530m. With this backing, it will be fascinating to see what the next few years will bring.
This week saw Garmin launch its latest offering – the vivosmart 4 activity tracker. The new wristband tracks steps, activities and forecasts the weather, it also has a blood oxygen sensor and will let you know how much energy you have stored. Another evolved step in the world of health statistics tracking.
Multi-national information technology company, Hewlett-Packard is working with the CDC on a pilot programme to ‘print’ and test antibiotics in a mission to tackle “super bugs” – by catching these anti-microbial resistant strains from spreading. The HP D300e Digital Dispenser BioPrinter technology developed by HP’s Biohacker tech, works by utilizing the same set up as regular ink printers, but the difference is that it dispenses any combination of drugs in volumes from picolitres to microlitres to be used for research purposes.
It has been reported this week that the number of cholera cases in Yemen have been dramatically reduced from over 50,000 new cases a week to around 2,500, by the implementation of a new system that predicts where outbreaks will occur. The system enables aid workers to focus efforts on prevention several weeks in advance of an outbreak – by monitoring rainfall. Met Office produces a rainfall forecast for Yemen. Using its supercomputers, it determines the specific amount of rain that will fall and pinpoints the areas it will hit. Together with additional local information, including population density, access to clean water, and seasonal temperatures, it enables scientists to predict the area’s most likely to experience an outbreak, up to four weeks in advance.
Interesting reads for the weekend: