Digital health hires: Apple, WellDoc and AbilTo

By Brian Dolan
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Apple has hired Dr. Stephen Friend, the president and co-founder of Sage Bionetworks, to work on health-related projects. Sage promoted Lara Mangravite as its new president, and Friend will become chairman of the board. Sage helped Apple build out its ResearchKit framework and powered many of the early ResearchKit studies. Prior to Sage, Friend spent close to a decade at Merck as a senior research executive. Xconomy has a good writeup of Friend's move to Apple.

WellDoc has hired three new executivesJeff Lehrfeld is its new chief financial officer; Tara Charvat joins as its new chief marketing officer (CMO); and Christina Hedge is its new executive director of market access. Lehrfeld was most recently the CFO at NIA Magellan. Charvat was formerly the VP of marketing and commercial operations at Valeritas. Hedge joins after roles at CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield and Kaiser Permanente. WellDoc offers an FDA-cleared digital diabetes management program.

AbilTo has named Rob Rebak as its new CEO. Rebak was most recently the president of consumer solutions at another digital health company, Sharecare. AbilTo offers behavioral telehealth programs.

When asked what industry he'd like to move into once he leaves office, President Obama told Bloomberg he could imagine being a venture capitalist with a focus on precision medicine: "Well, you know, it’s hard to say. But what I will say is that—just to bring things full circle about innovation—the conversations I have with Silicon Valley and with venture capital pull together my interests in science and organization in a way I find really satisfying. You know, you think about something like precision medicine: the work we’ve done to try to build off of breakthroughs in the human genome; the fact that now you can have your personal genome mapped for a thousand bucks instead of $100,000; and the potential for us to identify what your tendencies are, and to sculpt medicines that are uniquely effective for you. That’s just an example of something I can sit and listen and talk to folks for hours about."