Friday Five: The week’s top digital health news and views (7 May 2021)

VC deal flow; diabetes space a-whirl with BD, Lilly, Apple news; Vicore’s DTx venture.

Lighter capital flow in April’s venture funding rounds

April recorded a higher volume of VC financing deals than March but total deal value fell short. 

Overall, some $3.2 billion was raised last month, a billion less than March’s tally. This was likely due to the smaller number of nine-figure rounds, of which there were 11 in April, compared to 17 in March. Swedish telemedicine company Kry pulled in the biggest round at $300 million, and F-Prime Capital and Northpond Ventures were jointly crowned April’s most prolific VCs.

To get more insights on VC deal flow trends in April, see the following Spotlight On articles:

April sees total venture dollars raised deflate after March high

Virtual healthcare platforms grab most attention in April

23andMe founder among April’s top investors

BD’s diabetes care goes solo

BD is spinning out its diabetes care unit, said to be the world’s biggest producer of insulin injection devices. The spinout will create a company which generated revenue of $1.1 billion in fiscal 2020, but has seen lacklustre growth recently. It is hoped that untethering the diabetes care business from the group will sharpen its focus and drive more efficient investment and growth. [see related analysis, Wider View: BD’s newco brings new buyer to diabetes landscape]

Lilly quickens Tempo collab activity 

One of the biggest insulin manufacturers Eli Lilly has inked deals with Roche, DexCom, Glooko and myDiabby Healthcare to enhance digital connectivity of its Tempo insulin pen. Lilly is currently working on the Tempo Smart Button, designed to attach to the Tempo Pen and record insulin dosing. Under the agreement, the Tempo Smart Button will be paired with the diabetes management platforms offered by Roche, DexCom, Glooko and myDiabby, so that data from the connected insulin pen solutions can be collected in real-time. This will help generate more personalised and accurate insights and enable better control of blood glucose.

Could Apple succeed where so many CGM fail? 

Apple may be exploring the challenging terrain of noninvasive blood glucose tracking, according to an SEC filing by its key smartwatch sensor supplier Rockley Photonics. Rockley suggested in the filing that the next-generation infrared sensors it is developing could be incorporated into the Apple Watch as soon as 2022. The technology could also track alcohol levels in the blood and give blood pressure readings. 

Vicore to add digital CBT to lung fibrosis pharma offering

Vicore Pharma may still be a clinical-stage company but it is already making an early bet on digital therapeutics. The company has partnered with Alex Therapeutics to develop an AI-powered digital therapeutic for delivering cognitive behavioural therapy that would address depression and anxiety in patients with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis (IPF). The DTx programme, VP04, will be complementary to its pharmacotherapy and also a new revenue stream to the Swedish biotech. The companies expect to begin the clinical trial of VP04 in 2022. [see related analysis, Wider View: Vicore bets early on DTx for lung fibrosis patients]


Other top news:

Medtronic unveils CareGuidePro digital health platform for spinal cord stimulation

Cerner begins search for new CEO

Biobeat's AI-based remote patient monitoring platform gains CE mark


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