So far, 16 digital health acquisitions in 2014

By Jonah Comstock
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Corventis PiiX SensorAs we head into the halfway point of 2014, it's already clear that the trend of mobile and digital health acquisitions is up. Just five months into the year, MobiHealthNews has tracked 16 mergers, acquisitions, asset buys and majority stake acquisitions -- just one less transaction than we tracked during the whole of 2013.

While many of the buys were medical software acquisitions of various kinds, there was still plenty of movement in the fitness tracking space, with Intel's $100 million plus acquisition of Basis, MyFitnessPal buying Sessions, and even Weight Watchers getting into the game with its Wello acquisition. And of course, in May, two medical device giants made moves -- Medtronic with its Corventis acquisition, and Covidien with its Zephyr Technologies buy.

In addition to the 16 obviously health-related acquisitions, we did cover one more high-profile acquisition that could potentially have health implications: Facebook's acquisition of virtual reality startup Oculus Rift. As we reported in March when the acquisition broke, Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg called out health as a far-future use case for the technology in a call with reporters.

Here's a roundup of the 16 acquisitions since January 1:

January 2014 -- HealthSparq acquires Clarus Health Portland, Oregon-based Cambia Health subsidiary HealthSparq, an online shopping platform for healthcare services, acquired ClarusHealth Solutions, an online provider search tool, for an undisclosed amount. The acquisition tripled HealthSparq’s payor clients, bringing the number from 20 to 60 health plans, a total of 60 million consumer users.

January 2014 -- Vocera buys mVisum Healthcare communications company Vocera Communications announced that it had acquired alarm management company mVisum for $3.5 million. The goal of the acquisition was to build out Vocera's alarm management features.

January 2014 -- Bioscape Digital buys PictureRx Atlanta-based Bioscape Digital acquired Chattanooga-based PictureRx to build out its tablet-based patient engagement platform. Bioscape didn't disclose the terms, but strongly implied the deal was more than $2 million. Bioscape Digital’s platform places proprietary Android tablets loaded with text, audio and 3D visual imagery in emergency rooms and imaging centers.

February 2014 -- UnitedHealth Group buys majority stake in Audax Health Optum, a division of the UnitedHealth Group,  purchased a majority stake in Audax Health Solutions in a deal “which included cash, options, preferred stock, and significant working capital,” according to Audax. Contrary to rumors that circulated when the Federal Trade Commission granted UnitedHealth Group a preliminary green light to acquire all of or part of Audax, the deal was not an outright acquisition. CEO Grant Verstandig and President David Ko will continue to lead Audax Health Solutions as “a freestanding investment of Optum,” according to a statement from Audax.

February 2014 -- MyFitnessPal acquires Sessions San Francisco-based MyFitnessPal acquired fitness coaching startup Sessions for an undisclosed sum. MyFitnessPal, a health and fitness data platform that now boasts 50 million registered users, brought the entire Sessions team onboard and, as a result of the acquisition, planned to begin offering its users coaching program. Last month, at Health 2.0's HxR, MyFitnessPal shared a little more about its plans for Sessions.

March 2014 -- Physicians Interactive completes acquisition of Tomorrow Networks Tomorrow Networks, a joint venture between mobile clinical resources company Physicians Interactive and New York City-based Remedy Systems, was acquired in-full by Physicians Interactive. Tomorrow Networks billed itself as a mobile advertising network that serve ads specifically targeted to healthcare providers and patients based on their specialties, conditions, and locations — among other contexts.

March 2014 -- Intel acquires Basis Science After a few weeks of rumors, Intel confirmed its rumored acquisition of Basis Science, the activity tracker company that makes the high-end Basis B1 Band. TechCrunch first reported the Intel deal and pegged it at between $100 million and $150 million, however, Intel did not disclose any financial details of the Basis acquisition. The startup raised just over $30 million over the years. As part of its announcement, Intel said that the Basis band will still be available through its existing retail channels — which include Best Buy stores. The Basis Science team will continue to build out the product and support the device’s users, and also work on future wearable initiatives with others at Intel.

March 2014 -- AirStrip buys Sense4Baby assets from West Health San Antonio, Texas-based mobile healthcare company AirStrip acquired the assets of wireless monitoring startup Sense4Baby and licensed the associated technology that the startup was founded on from the Gary and Mary West Health Institute. The companies did not disclose the financial terms of the transaction. Sense4Baby raised $4 million from The West Health Investment Fund in early 2013.

April 2014 -- Nuance acquires Accelerad Nuance Communications acquired cloud-based medical image sharing company Accelarad for an undisclosed amount at some point in the past. In April, it announced it was launching Accelerad’s technology, combined with Nuance’s existing networks, under the new name PowerShare Network.

April 2014 -- Opko buys Inspiro Medical Biopharmaceutical company Opko Health has acquired Israeli smart inhaler company Inspiro Medical for a sum in “the low eight figures”, according to Opko’s Director of Strategic Investment Les Funtleyder. The company will be using Inspiro’s Inspiromatic technology to develop an app-connected inhaler that will be bundled with a forthcoming new drug for asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis.

April 2014 -- Facebook buys ProtoGeo In what might be the biggest mobile health acquisition of the year, social networking giant Facebook acquired Finland-based fitness app maker Protogeo for an undisclosed sum. The deal signals Facebook's interest in mobile and fitness, but much of the media coverage has focused on dubious changes to Moves' privacy policy post-acquisition.

April 2014 -- Hearst Health acquires CareInSync Hearst Health Network acquired Santa Clara, California-based CareInSync for an undisclosed amount. CareInSync will become part of Zynx Health, an evidence- and experience-based clinical improvement company within the Hearst Health Network, which is itself a recently formed division of the Hearst Corporation.

May 2014 -- Covidien acquires Zephyr Technology In the first of two acquisitions broken by MobiHealthNews in May, medical device giant Covidien acquired sports and medical wearables company Zephyr Technology. Although the terms are still unknown, Zephyr has raised more than $13 million since its founding in 2003 — back when health-sensing wearables were a relative rarity. Zephyr’s investors included 3M New Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.

May 2014 -- Weight Watchers acquires Wello During its quarterly conference call with analysts, Weight Watchers confirmed rumors that had been circulated for a few months that it has acquired Silicon Valley-based weight loss startup Wello for an undisclosed sum. As Weight Watchers CEO Jim Chambers and CTO Dan Crowe explained on the call, the Wello acquisition is an important component of the company’s strategy to compete in an increasingly digital weight loss market.

May 2014 -- Medtronic buys Corventis In another major deal broken by MobiHealthNews, medical device giant Medtronic acquired peel-and-stick medical sensor company Corventis. While neither company has publicly commented on the deal, it is expected to be officially announced some time in the next few weeks. Initial reports put the deal at $150 million.

May 2014 -- St. Jude to acquire CardioMEMS In 2010, St. Jude invested $60 million in CardioMEMS for 19 percent of the company. They also had an option to purchase the remaining 81 percent of the company for $375 million. When CardioMEMS secured FDA clearance last month, St. Jude Medical said that it now intends to exercise its option to acquire CardioMEMS, and plans on completing the acquisition in the second quarter of 2014.