We take a look at this week’s biggest developments, research and investment news from the world of Health Tech.
Microsoft makes another mark in the health sector this week, by seeking a patent for its new innovative blood pressure monitoring system called Glabella. It’s not like your traditional oscillometric blood pressure devices. Microsoft patent encompasses glasses, which are incorporated with optical sensors, processing, storage and communication components. This enables physiological data to be collected passively and with no interaction required by the user. Glabella continuously records the stream of reflected light intensities from blood flow as well as inertial measurements of the user’s head, providing increased accuracy in comparison with traditional digital tools.
Babylon has yet again signed another major deal, this time with insurer Prudential Asia for £100M over several years. Prudential Asia, a business unit of British insurer Prudential plc. has signed a licensing deal with digital health startup Babylon Health to exclusively use its AI-powered software for its own apps across 12 countries in Asia. Babylon won’t actually be providing remote doctors to Prudential, but rather the software that powers their medical chatbot in the Babylon app. The insurer will be looking to use and integrate the licensed Babylon software by the end of the year in at least one app that is planned to release in Asia by the end of the year. The app is most likely to include the Babylon chatbot, along with AI-simulation features and broader health assessments being developed by engineers at Babylon. The app users will be presented with a series of 50+ question in order to produce a “health graph”, which in turn will offer probabilities for contracting a range of diseases and also give a grade on the user’s mental health.
This week 23andMe announced that GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has invested an incredible $300M. Part of the deal is that GSK have exclusive access to the 23andMe DNA database. This partnership has the potential to accelerate GSK’s drug development, in particular there have been reports this week that indicated that they are intending on using the data available to them to develop a Parkinson’s drug. 23andMe already has a portfolio of early-stage therapeutic research programs across a wide range of disease indications. For the development of a Parkinson’s drug, GSK will be contributing its LRRK2 inhibitor, which is currently in preclinical development. This current deal will be in place for four years, with the opportunity for extension.
The latest funding round led by Temasek brings ClassPass’s total funding up to $255M. ClassPass is an online fitness membership platform, allowing consumers to opt into one membership and then access classes at various locations. It also provides its members access to workout videos and blogs, as well as connecting fellow members through its app. The latest funding will primarily be used to continue the company’s growth, as well as global expansion. They are looking to launch in 20 more countries and 10 more US cities by the end of 2019. The funding will also be used to market ClassPass Live, a live at-home video workout akin to Peloton’s product.
Interesting reads for the weekend: