angelMD Partners with the American College of Cardiology

When it comes to innovation, one of the biggest challenges is connecting those who are driving it with those who will use it. That connection is one of the missions that we hold at angelMD. Our partnership with the American College of Cardiology helps both angelMD and the ACC to better engage around the future of healthcare.

At angelMD, we know how busy the lives of clinicians can be. That’s why we’ve dedicated ourselves to being a resource where medical professionals can learn, advise, and invest all in one place. The ACC partnership will allow us to work together to deliver the latest information about health technology innovation, entrepreneurship, and investing.

The partnership will bring content to the angelMD and ACC websites, newsletters, blogs, and social media platforms. But this collaboration is about more than reading. We are also developing a series of angelMD-hosted webinars and surveys to both gain and share knowledge about innovation in healthcare technology.

ACC members attending the College’s 67th Annual Scientific Session will get to see some of the top new innovations first-hand. A pitch event held during the Session will focus on both medical devices and digital health. It’s a great opportunity for cardiology professionals to get face to face with the people who are working to make their lives better.

Make sure to keep an eye out for new content and upcoming events. We’ll always announce them on the angelMD blog, as well as our Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook accounts.

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Friday Roundup: August 4, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

State of Emergency Proposed for Opioid Epidemic

The recommendation comes in an interim report from the White House’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis released this past Monday. Health professionals have greeted the recommendation with a mixed response.

 

Some feel this is the right move because it would allow the Health and Human Services Secretary to take direct action like negotiating lower prices for naloxone. Others fear that the rhetoric used would bring similar consequences to the “war on drugs” years, in which those with addiction were heavily criminalized for their drug use.

 

One criticism came from Dr. Corey Waller, Senior Medical Director of Education and Policy for the Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers, who pointed out that even if a state of emergency is declared and funds become available there is not a sufficient workforce to handle the crisis.

Will Health Disparities Leak into the Genome?

Socioeconomic factors have been shown to have a large impact on one’s health, and with the wave of genetic editing research occurring, some worry limited access to technology will make genetic diseases a characteristic of marginalized communities.

 

“Restricting access to prenatal testing threatens to turn existing inequalities in our society into something biological and permanent,” genetic counselor and Sarah Lawrence professor Laura Hercher said.

 

Current prenatal screening tests for genetic disease cost upwards of $2,000, an unaffordable expense for many. In an article in Genome, Hercher refers to the financial and other limitations as contributions to the “ghettoization of genetic disease.”

NFL and NIH Don’t Play Well Together

The National Football League and the National Institute of Health have ceased their partnership for brain research. The parting will leave $16M of the $30M the NFL had pledged unspent.

 

The news broke three days after the New York Times published an extensive article about a recent study in which 110 of 111 brains of past NFL players were found to have chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE), a degenerative disease caused by repeated blows to the head. Companies like VICIS have made great strides in CTE prevention, but they cannot change what has happened to football players in the past.

 

The NIH decided to let the contract expire in August. In the past, the league has been accused of trying to influence research by awarding it to doctors with connections to the league. At this time, it is unclear if the NFL will donate the remaining money pledged to the NIH through their fundraising arm or cease conversation with the NIH altogether.

 

What do you think this partnership termination means for the future of brain injuries in professional sports? Share your thoughts on Twitter or LinkedIn with the hashtag #NFLandNIH and tag us.

Senate Seeks to Influence Healthcare Elsewhere

With the lack of progress made on repealing, replacing, or improving the ACA, two senators  (Doris Matsui, D-California, and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio) have drafted a bill to expand telemedicine.

 

Several states already have laws relating to telemedicine on the books and the proposed legislation would allow the Health and Human Services secretary to oust Medicare restrictions if the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services conclude it reduces cost.

Superbugs are Afraid of Needles Too

Reducing the need for antibiotics is the name of the game when it comes to preventing antibiotic resistance, and more widespread vaccination against infections will do just that.

 

Vaccinations play a preventative role by keeping infections from occurring, but that’s not the only way they limit unnecessary antibiotic use. Vaccinating against viral infections is also important as antibiotics do not treat viruses, and protection from viral infections reduces the occurrence of secondary bacterial infections that can follow viruses and would require antibiotics.

 

Coupled with the benefits of “herd immunity,” a phrase that refers to when a large enough portion of the population is vaccinated that unvaccinated persons are not at risk, this appears to be an optimal way to fight antibiotic resistance.

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A Houston Gem: JLABs @ TMC

 

This summer, the Texas Medical Center Innovation Institute has been a revolving door with events, guest speakers, demo days, startup activity, investment activity, and much more. The TMC Innovation Institute consists of four collaborative entities: TMCx, TMCx+, TMC BioDesign, and Partner Institutions. These partnerships include Johnson & Johnson Innovation JLABS @ TMC and the Center for Device Innovation, and AT&T’s Foundry Lab.

 

angelMD’s Houston office is located in the middle of all this collaboration and proudly invites its members to come see for themselves.

 

Based out of  TMCx+, Dan Parsley led his summer intern team on a mission to bring as many Houstonians to visit the TMC Innovation Institute as possible. Offering weekly tours, they showed over 100 guests the impressive and developing ecosystem within the TMC Innovation Institute.

 

Arjun Mohindra, an advisor for the TMCx program noted, “The tour that I took with angelMD was very insightful. I got a chance to see the TMCx facility, to learn more about the accelerator program, and to hear some more information about the innovative companies that are coming to Houston. It’s fascinating to see companies from all over the world join this prospering ecosystem.”

 

Attendees were particularly impressed with Johnson & Johnson’s state-of-the-art JLABS facility. JLABS @ TMC is a 34,000-square foot facility with both shared and private wet and dry lab spaces that can accommodate up to 50 life science startups. Residents receive the full breadth of Johnson & Johnson Innovation, including opportunities to discuss funding, access third-party services, attend educational events and meet with R&D experts from their medical device, consumer healthcare product and Janssen pharmaceutical teams. JLABS @ TMC has the same no-strings attached approach currently in operation at their California and Boston-based JLABS facilities.

 

Houston, a home for innovation.

As one of the top five global biotechnology clusters and home to the Texas Medical Center, the largest medical center in the world, Houston is a flourishing life sciences hub. The area has great potential, and an incubator can enable the talented scientists in the region to take their innovation to the next level.

 

“With a mix of therapeutics, medical device, digital health, and pharma covering verticals from oncology to cardiac and even food sciences, the Houston JLABS houses one of the most diverse portfolio across all of Johnson & Johnson Innovation,” said Tom Luby, PhD, Head of JLABS Texas. “We’re getting new inquiries weekly, and with the upcoming launch of the Center for Device Innovation, Houston is poised to become a world leading innovation hub for bio and Life Sciences.”

 

Community partnerships, such as the one with Johnson & Johnson are a key element of the TMC Innovation Institute. Through their robust global connections and strategic corporate directional guidance in healthcare, startup companies benefit from the networking opportunities the TMC Innovation Institute provides. Here are a few upcoming events:

We encourage any of our members that are in the Houston area to attend these events. They provide the opportunity to learn more about the work being done in Houston. You may also join us for a tour of the TMC Innovation Institute by registering here for one of the few remaining scheduled tours or email houston@angelmd.co; we are happy to accommodate and show off these tremendous facilities.

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Friday Roundup – July 14, 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

Digital Health has Lucrative Second Quarter

Investors contributed $3.8 billion to the digital health industry. The quarter alone was larger than the combined total annual funding for 2010 and 2011, according to Startup Health’s 2017 Mid-Year report. In addition, 2017 has seen more unique investors so far than the entirety of 2014, showing that the industry is attracting and keeping attention from investors new to the space. To date, there have been 306 deals in 2017 coming to a total of $6.5 billion.

 

Though the number of deals is consistent with earlier years, the size of deals has continued to grow, with more $100M+ deals projected for this year. The most active subsectors were Big Data/Analytics and Education/Training. The first one is hardly a shock, but the second shows the industry recognizes the shortage of healthcare professionals and is investing in solution to fix it.

First Sickle Cell Drug in 20 years Approved by FDA

Endari is a drug created by Emmaus Medical Inc. and has been approved to limit side effects of Sickle Cell that occur in the lungs and pain that is caused by the disorder.

 

Fortune Health points out that the situation with Sickle Cell — the fact that there hasn’t been a drug for many years and when there is, it only really helps manage the disorder — is indicative of how difficult it is to create “groundbreaking medicines.” Treatments for diseases like Sickle Cell, which affect a small portion of the population (about 100,000 Americans), often make slow progress. Though the FDA has attempted to focus more on rare diseases, it has come with missteps like the approval of a $89,000 decades-old muscular dystrophy treatment.

Department of Defense Backs Brain-Computer Interfaces

The U.S. is contributing $65 million to six different organizations with the goal of developing a way to record data from millions of neurons in the brain.The funding comes from the Neural Engineering System Design (NESD) program, a project meant to support President Obama’s BRAIN Initiative.

 

“By increasing the capacity of advanced neural interfaces to engage more than one million neurons in parallel, NESD aims to enable rich two-way communication with the brain at a scale that will help deepen our understanding of that organ’s underlying biology, complexity, and function,” NESD program founder Phillip Alvelda said in a statement.

 

This kind of information stream could eventually be the key to treating paralysis, speech disorders, and many other neurological based issues.

Outside Experts Recommend FDA Approval of CAR-T Cancer Therapy

Though the FDA’s final announcement of approval will not come until Oct. 3, the future of Novartis’ CAR-T therapy is promising. CTL019 is the first CAR-T therapy to reach the FDA and is proposed to treat children and young adults with advanced leukemia. CTL019 works by “programming” a patient’s white blood cells to focus on tumors.

 

The treatment was supported unanimously by the outside advisory board and has boasted impressive results such as an 83 percent remission rate.

 

Several other companies are working on CAR-T treatments, including Kite. The support Novartis earned from the advisory board bodes well for them and the future of CAR-T therapy, Kite’s CEO noted in a blog.

AI Bests Cardiologists in Detecting Cardiac Arrhythmias

Using data from the Zio patch created by SF-based startup iRhythm Technologies, researchers from Stanford developed an AI algorithm to detect cardiac arrhythmias. The program can detect 12 different types of arrhythmias and did so with more accuracy than the average cardiologist.

 

This kind of high-accuracy ECG-based diagnosis can save a lot of time for physicians and, when coupled with accessible ECG systems, will hopefully increase access to care without increased misdiagnosis.

New at angelMD

  • Our syndicates with Fibralign and ECOM Medical will be closing soon, don’t miss the chance to invest in these innovative companies. If you’re interested in Fibralign, find more info here. More information about ECOM is available here.
  • Visulytix, Melnic Consulting Group, and Evoke Medical are just three of the many startups to join the angelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.

 

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angelMD Friday roundup – June 30th 2017

The Friday Roundup is a collection of five stories that you need to know about each week. From policy, to innovations, look to us to keep you up to date on what’s happening in the healthcare industry.

 

Opioid Crisis Heightens, Search for Alternate Painkillers Underway

The devastating opioid crisis has been taking a toll on communities across America. Overdoses are already the leading cause of death among Americans under 50, and if solutions are not implemented quickly, the number of opioid deaths per day could spike to 250. STAT News recently consulted public health professionals to explore 10 possible scenarios for the future of the opioid crisis.

Drugmakers have recognized the urgency of the crisis and are now working to produce safer pain killers. The drugs in development would target more specific forms of pain and are using pain-reducing attributes of cannabis and chili peppers. In addition to forming new drugs, some companies are developing drugs with opioids but modifying them to try to hinder addiction like pills that are difficult to crush or are too viscous to move through a needle.

 

New Breakthrough in Preventing Metastasis of Cancer

Metastasis, the spread of cancer through the body, is the main cause of death in cancer, but a new study from the Georgia Institute of Technology has exhibited promising results in stalling the process.

This is done by breaking the filopodia, or ‘legs,’ of cancers cells with a small gold rod heated by a laser. The rods are coated with molecules that cause them to stick to a cell protein called integrin. This binding to integrin prevents the cell from producing filopodia. The treatment also does not harm healthy cells, minimizing the toll taken on the body that can come with other cancer treatments like chemotherapy.

 

Stanford to use Apple Watch in Digital Health Research

Stanford’s Center for Digital Health funded five projects and awarded them 1,000 Apple Watches to use in their research. Stanford has become increasingly involved with the Silicon Valley tech community, previously partnering with Google Genomics last year to develop cloud-based precision medicine platforms.

Among the projects funded are an exploration of AI for psychiatric treatment and migraine attack prediction and management.

 

Joe and Jill Biden launch Biden Cancer Initiative

The former Vice President and Second Lady have created the Biden Cancer Initiative with the goal of “to develop and drive implementation of solutions to accelerate progress in cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, research, and care, and to reduce disparities in cancer outcomes.”

The initiative will work with the Cancer Moonshot program started by the Obama administration, but will be independent of the federal government. In an op-ed in TIME Magazine, Joe and Jill push for data-driven cancer research noting there “is an enormous possibility that comes from aggregating and sharing millions of patients’ data — their genomics and genetics, family history, lifestyles and treatment outcomes.”

Vaccine with no needle

Christopher Moore, Georgia Tech

 

Vaccine with No Needle? It’s Possible

Scientists have begun a clinical trial for the delivery of vaccines via a microneedle patch. The patch is roughly the size of a dime and lined with dissolvable microscopic needles, it can be placed on the skin like a bandaid. The patch is safer to dispose and less painful as the needles to not enter the muscle.

Another advantage of the patch is it delivers a dry drug and therefore does not need to be refrigerated, which has previously been a barrier to transporting vaccines to rural areas. Despite promising preliminary results, the patch still needs to be tested for long-term effects before being brought to market.

 

New at angelMD

  • We’ve launched a new syndicate with ECOM Medical, a leader in the development and commercialization of Internal Impedance Cardiography for hemodynamic monitoring.
  • fiteBac, Twiage, and Vivid are just three of the many startups to join the angelMD community. Check out their profiles to see how they’re changing the face of healthcare.

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