It’s time for your monthly digital health news dose. We have looked back at three of the most noteworthy pieces of news from the last month and distilled what they mean for the industry and the key takeaways you should have on your radar. Interested in getting beyond the headlines?
1: Halodoc Closes a Series B from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
Halodoc, an online healthcare platform in Indonesia, has secured funding in a series B+ round from strategic investors including the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Allianz X and Prudential. On a mission to make healthcare more accessible and affordable, Halodoc offers a mobile platform for patients to access doctors on demand, home lab services, in addition to pharmacy delivery services available in 50 Indonesian cities. It has been reported that Halodoc serves an estimated 7 million patients per month throughout Indonesia.
Why is it notable? Scale where it is needed - Reaching the last mile:
The funding from Bill and Melinda Gates' Foundation (the largest Foundation in the world) is a testament to the fact that Halodoc has a meaningful impact on the health of those who have access and affordability barriers.
E-pharmacy is quickly becoming a popular model that Asian companies are championing - there is certainly a thing or two to learn from these companies on making optimized pharmacy services successful.
The scale of Halodoc services alone is worth noting. Halodoc connects 7 million patients per month to 22,000 doctors and 1,000 pharmacies throughout Indonesia, with 80% of patients residing outside of the main cities of Jakarta and Surabaya.
What can we learn? Digital Health equity picking up pace:
While this investment may not directly impact those of us in the West, what Halodoc (and many other Asian companies like Aloodokter, HelloSehat, 1mg, etc.) stand for is solving the supply-demand problems in heath-care.
The not for profit sector is clearly recognizing and embracing technology as a way to reach underserved populations as evidenced by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation investment in Halodoc, as well as other initiatives like PATHs partnership with WHO to help inform its digital health strategy.
2: Livongo files for an IPO
Chronic disease management company Livongo IPO’d last month reaching a value of $3.4 billion after the first day trading. In the same week Health Catalyst, healthcare data and analytics company, also had their IPO debut. Before their IPO Livongo had raised $235M and boasted had 164,000 members in its largest chronic disease program.
Why is it notable? End of the IPO Drought:
Livongo, along with Health Catalyst mark two companies that are ending the IPO drought in digital health.
Livongo acquired a number of companies, thus bulking up its offering in the months leading up to this IPO - Diabeto, Retrofit, myStrength. They also partnered with Amazon Alexa to bolster their offering.
Livongo has published literature on their clinical and economic outcomes (especially in the months leading up to this IPO). So, there really may be good returns (clinical and monetary) for your health investments.
The Livongo IPO was the largest digital health IPO to date and validates the public market’s recognition that tech-enabled platforms in digital health can scale economically while driving improvements in the treatment of chronic conditions at lower costs.
The IPO’s success also paves the way for other digital health companies looking to access the public markets for addition capital needed to scale these novel approaches that address the skyrocketing costs of healthcare through better, more cost-effective care and improved outcomes.
What can we learn? Gotta keep moving:
Livongo may set the precedent for more Digital Therapeutics companies to follow suit - grow rapidly, but also scale and generate outcomes.
Don’t rest on your laurels - the company is still running under a loss despite the $$$ IPO.
While it may generate optimism in some, it may close the doors for smaller direct competitors as Livongo may monopolize the diabetes market.
“From a 7Wire Ventures perspective, Livongo’s journey from its founding in the 7Wire office to its IPO demonstrates the entrepreneurial DNA of our team and the impact of our 100+ years of combined experience building and investing in healthcare technology companies. It also validates our belief that Informed Connected Health Consumers will better manage their own health and help drive the transformation from sick care to well care needed to achieve better outcomes at a lower cost.”
Lee Shapiro and Robert Garber of 7wire Ventures
3: Pear Therapeutics Files for Pre-Cert 510(k) with Somryst Insomnia DTx
Towards the end of July Pear Therapeutics filed for FDA Pre-Cert (510k) for their product Somryst, a Prescription Digital Therapeutic for the Treatment of Adults with Chronic Insomnia and Depression.
Pear's third Digital Therapeutic (DTx) has been submitted into the FDAs Pre-Certification Program, which is a testament to how fast the DTx industry is moving, and Pear as an organization too. reSET and reSET-O are just starting their real world data collection and pilots with Novartis/Sandoz.
Why is it notable? New PDT on the block:
Somryst represents the first PDT (Prescription Digital Therapeutic) submission to the FDA’s digital health PreCert program that was launched earlier this year.
Patients with chronic insomnia and their physicians have no treatments that could be prescribed that deliver the guideline recommended first line treatment for chronic insomnia of CBTi. There is a massive shortage of face-to-face CBTI providers, as some states in the USA have no licensed clinicians.
CBT is the evidence based treatment for Depression and other mental health disorders and digital is proving to be an effective way to deliver the same.
What can we learn? Moving beyond the pill:
While reSET is the only FDA authorized treatment for patients with cocaine, cannabis and stimulant use disorder, Somryst represents a PDT that could potentially move ahead of existing drugs as recommended first line treatment. This further hammers home PDTs potential to become standard of care and standard armamentarium for clinicians and medicines for patients. Several existing sleep medications have received black box warnings from regulators.
Somryst could help FDA and participants test and potentially refine FDA’s Digital Health PreCert working model.
Will be interesting to see how Pear's FDA route as PDT weighs up against Sleepio's CVS partnership as a D2C digital therapeutic in the coming year.
The news stories in this blog were captured using the HealthXL Data Platform, which aims to be your one source of truth in digital health. We are excited to announce that we officially released the platform last month. If you would like to learn more about how to get access to the platform, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org
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