The digital health sector tallied more than $8B in funding this year and an “Alexa for Doctors” could be just what the doctor ordered.
Whether it was a high-tech drug discovery startup bagging $21 million in funding led by Microsoft founder Bill Gates, or the digital health sector surpassing $8 billion in funding, the funding and acquisition headlines this year did not disappoint. But CVS Health’s acquisition of Aetna still stings for many physicians.
There was a lot of money to be made and spent in 2018, and many companies joined forces to create new tech and competition for healthcare organizations.
>> READ: Our Top 6 mHealth Stories of 2018
Below are six of our top funding and acquisition stories from 2018.
6. High-Tech Drug Discovery Startup Kallyope Bags $21M in Funding
Anything that has Bill Gates’ name attached to it definitely deserves a deeper look into. The Microsoft founder led the latest funding round, bringing Kallyope’s total to $87 million. Kallyope hopes to use the funding to identify therapeutic opportunities involving the gut-brain axis.
5. Private Equity Firms Veritas and Evergreen to Buy Athenahealth for $5.7B
Veritas Capital and Evergreen Coast Capital signed a deal in November to buy athenahealth, an electronic health record (EHR) and health tech company, for $5.7 billion cash. With a network of more than 120,000 hospital and ambulatory providers and roughly 117 million patients, athenahealth has become a big name in healthcare. Previously a publicly traded company, the purchase made athenahealth privately held.
4. Suki Emerges with $20M to Build an “Alexa for Doctors”
Suki’s goal is to build an artificial intelligence-powered, physician-minded voice assistant. Think Alexa but with tech that integrates EHR systems to provide doctors with instant documentation and ordering capabilities. This tech has the potential to allow physicians to spend more time with their patients.
3. With $1B Purchase of PillPack, Amazon Fulfills Its Pharmacy Destiny
With retail outlets moving into the healthcare space more and more, Amazon stayed ahead of the curve after striking a deal to buy PillPack. The pharmacy provides pre-sorted packaging and home delivery of drugs. This deal has the potential to disrupt healthcare.
2. CVS Health Completes $70B Acquisition of Aetna. What Does It Mean?
This acquisition has made a lot of noise, especially over the last few weeks of 2018. Initially announced at the end of 2017, CVS Health finally received all approvals and acquired Aetna for $70 billion in the last week of November. CVS Health has already rolled out plans to upgrade their MinuteClinic and attempt to push care to lower-cost sites by moving certain procedures out of expensive settings. But many physicians and antitrust groups oppose the merger and are still speaking out about how the deal is harmful for patients.
1. At $8B, Annual Digital Health Funding Has Already Surpassed 2017
It took just nine months for the digital health sector to surpass its funding from 2017. The record $8 billion proves that digital health has continued its upward march. The $3.1 billion in venture capital funding in the third quarter alone set another record. But where did these investments go?
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