Google Life Sciences is targeting heart disease, going halfsies with the American Heart Association on a five-year, $50 million collaboration which, says the WSJ, “will support research by the work of a single team drawn from a variety of disciples across medicine, engineering and technology” that Google and AHA hope can go beyond “the incremental advances characteristic of more conventional research.” They’re looking for as-yet unidentified drivers of heart disease and for means to prevent, arrest or reverse coronary artery disease.
Teladoc has signed up a slew of major employers, the virtual visits firm announced in an earnings call – its 500+ new accounts inked in 2016 include Merck, Starbucks, Marriott and Mercedes Benz. It’s still early days for virtual visits, though – the service has hosted 117,213 consults so far in 2015, an 89% increase on 2014.
FDA is looking at the use of mobile health tech, telemedicine and remote sensors in clinical research – i.e. ResearchKit, etc. The agency asked for feedback from stakeholders by December 28 on a long and interesting list of questions including implications for patient privacy and challenges of data collection in a Bring-Your-Own-Device model.
NIH has a last-resort diagnostics lab called the Undiagnosed Disease Network for people with mystery diseases. Here’s how they’re using big data for more rapid and accurate diagnoses.
A Nielsen study found that consumer interest in digital health outstrips access when it comes to things like remote care and telemedicine – findings broadly in line with our own. Another study commissioned by NYU Langone says 58% of smartphone users have downloaded a fitness or health app, and two-thirds of those that have open an app daily.
PhRMA is not famous for being the most proactive lobby in Washington on the PR front, but the trade org is engaging on drug prices, to the point of casting the likes of Turing and Valeant out of its big tent – a sign of the seriousness of the recent brouhaha over price hikes.
The Trans Pacific Partnership trade deal includes some nice sweeteners for pharma – among them a provision that lets a company sue to put time back on the patent clock if a regulator drags its heels on approval, and others giving drug and device makers more leverage on government reimbursements for their products.
CMS’s Pioneer ACO program has been plagued by drop-outs, and two more ACOs have just left, leaving just half of the original Pioneers The agency’s Next Generation program, starting in January, is expected to address some of the Pioneers’ pain points, including more latitude to use telemedicine and home visits.
Living in the future: Scientists have used gene-editing technology to treat a patient for the first time, altering the T-cells of a one-year-old girl with leukemia to make them able to find the cancer cells and blunt their vulnerability to an oncology treatment the child was receiving.