Important Industry News

Amazon hires former FDA Chief Health Informatics Officer, Taha Kass-Hout

Amazon needs diverse healthcare talent to realize its vision of a new industry paradigm. Taha checks many boxes. He is a former regulator (always helps to have them on your side if you want to disrupt anything). He is credited for a number of initiatives which essentially helped the public and researchers access adverse event database at the agency. He also started a similar program for genomic information. Many believe that Amazon’s first foray into healthcare will be an aggregation and data access play for consumers. If that is the case, then Taha is the perfect match.

Apple enters the employee health market

We are witnessing a bit of a herd instinct here. After the joint venture announcement between Amazon, JPM and Berkshire Hathaway, Apple is following in their footsteps. For the past five months, Apple has been quietly working with some of the local Stanford Health Care staff to build AC Wellness Network for their employees. No doubt this will be a testing ground for Apple to evaluate its opportunities for the broader market.

Pear Therapeutics and Novartis join hands to develop digital therapies for multiple sclerosis and schizophrenia

Galvani was founded a few years ago as a $750M joint venture between Google Verily and the pharmaceutical company GSK. The venture is focused on developing bioelectronic medicine. Pear and Novartis are now the second venture amongst serious players; albeit with a much narrower focus. We are quite enthusiastic about drug free treatments and applaud this new venture.

Verily mulling over entry into the healthcare insurance market

According to CNBC, Verily has been meeting with insurers to discuss partnerships where they can jointly bid on contracts.  

Getting into the insurance market directly is tough. Every state has its own regulation and licensing requirements. The easiest way is to join hands with existing insurance companies. And that is exactly what Verily is up to. The company’s strong suit is in data management, AI and machine learning; all strong attributes to complement the actuarial scientists at the insurance companies. Ari Gottlieb, a director at PwC believes that Verily’s initial entry into this market can be worth $20-25B.

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