Friday Five: The week’s top digital health news and views (20 August 2021)

We break down five of the week's most important and most read stories in healthtech.

Illumina grabs Grail….

  • Illumina has closed its acquisition of Grail - but the $8 billion deal is in the midst of an investigation by US and EU antitrust regulators. 

  • The next-gen sequencing leader said it will hold Grail as a separate company, enabling the regulatory processes to proceed without the risk of the deal terms expiring. 

  • The move came as a surprise and triggered a mixed reaction from the market. Some saw the longer-term gains of Illumina’s action [see Wider View: Illumina’s move on Grail irregular, but not irrational], others responded by downgrading the company’s stock. 

...Verily grabs SignalPath

  • Verily is boosting its clinical research business with the acquisition of SignalPath. 

  • This marks the Alphabet’s maiden M&A deal.

  • SignalPath’s software tools is designed to support clinical research sites, while Verily’s Baseline platform is more participant focused, said Amy Abernethy, head of Verily’s clinical research business.

  • The combination of the two platforms will enable Verily to offer an “end-to-end” solution for a seamless clinical trial workflow and more systematic data generation [see Wider View: Verily takes one step closer to a new future of data generation].

A women’s health unicorn is born 

  • Maven Clinic, which says it is the largest virtual clinic for women’s and family health, has scored the biggest round of venture financing in this sector so far this year.

  • Its $110 million series D round takes its valuation to over $1 billion. 

  • Maven’s telehealth network of providers cover care and management across the family health continuum, from fertility through pregnancy, parenting and pediatrics. 

  • Since last year, membership to Maven’s employer and payer-sponsored programmes has expanded by 400%.

Take heart in the benefits of AI

  • Results from a recent study showing AI still lagged behind humans in effectively detecting arrhythmias are not indicative of where technology is heading, said a leading cardiologist.

  • Humans look out for what they know but AI can scour new parameters associated with an outcome or disease state. 

  • AI will also be critical in helping to manage the data deluge. 

  • To get deeper in our KOL’s perspectives on the future of AI in cardiac management, see KOL Views: AI can “look beyond what we know” in heart monitoring.

Memic cuts a path into Nasdaq

  • Memic Innovative Surgery is eyeing a listing on Nasdaq through a merger with SPAC, MedTech Acquisition Corporation.

  • The deal gives Memic an equity value of over $1 billion, plus available cash of nearly $400 million.

  • The surgical robotics company is the second digital surgery specialist to go down the SPAC path. Vicarious Surgical is awaiting completion of its merger with D8 Holdings.

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