Theranos set to dissolve, Chinese online pharmacy scores $130M, and more digital health news briefs

Also: Cricket Health raises $24 million, and NeuroMetrix releases Quell 2.0.
By MobiHealthNews
04:06 pm

The end of an error. The Wall Street Journal reports that Theranos, the once-promising blood testing startup now plagued by scandals and lawsuits, will soon be shutting its doors for good. In a letter to shareholders obtained by the Journal, CEO and General Counsel David Taylor wrote that the company’s attempts to negotiate a sale transaction did not bear fruit, and that the company is in default. The plans to dissolve Theranos come half a year after founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes as well as former president Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani had been charged by the SEC with “massive fraud.”

Show me the money. Jianke Pharmaceutical, a Chinese online pharmacy retailer, landed $130 million in funding, Reuters reports. This announcement comes ahead of the company’s US IPO, which is planned for next year. According to China Money Network, the leading investor in this Series B financing round was GTJA Investment Group, with HMB Healthcare Investments and Crescent Point participating.


Pain relief wearable updated. NeuroMetrix has released the new version of its FDA-cleared, smartphone-controlled pain relief wearable. Quell 2.0 will be 50 percent smaller than its predecessor, and can be programmed to provide therapy automatically through the redesigned user app, among other features.

"Since first launching Quell in 2015, over 100,000 individuals living with chronic pain have experienced Quell's patented neurotechnology. Feedback from our customers and new research has enabled us to create a more intelligent, powerful and compact device," Dr. Shai N. Gozani, president and CEO of NeuroMetrix, said in a statement. "We believe that technology can have a positive impact on chronic pain and look forward to helping even more consumers find relief with Quell 2.0."

I can see clearly now. A recent study published by Optometry and Vision Science reported that a head-mounted low vision device was able to yield immediate visual improvements. In the study researchers tested eSight Eyewear, a head-worn vision enhancement device. Researchers tested participants at baseline, fitting, and then after three months of using the device everyday.

“Overall, wearing the fitted device instantly improved the participants' distance and near visual acuity, contrast sensitivity, minimum and critical reading print size, and reading speed measured across the 10 largest MNREAD print sizes (reading accessibility index), indicating that the magnification and contrast enhancement functions immediately have their intended effect, similar to improvements that we would expect from conventional visual magnification and contrast enhancement aids,” the researchers wrote in the study. 

No more need to go under the hood. Patient management software maker Welkin Health today announced the launch of new feature that will allow health care organizations to better design their patient programs within the platform. Called Workshop, the feature allows for program modifications within the platform without requiring an organization to rewrite the software’s code or underlying engineering.

“For many health care organizations, getting patient services off the ground is a slow, expensive, and frustrating process, primarily because the tools offered are not designed specifically for health care,” Chase Hensel, CEO and cofounder of Welkin Health, said in a statement. “Our goal with Workshop is to provide a framework to make complex patient management more straightforward and effective for health care organizations, as well as fast and simple — all without a line of code.”

What's coming down the pipeline. This morning integrated kidney care system Cricket Health announced that it scored $24 million in a Series A funding round led by Oak HC/FT. The money is expected to be used to help expand Cricket Health’s tech-enabled programs. The company aims to identify patients at risk of kidney failure in order to preserve kidney function as long as possible. The technology works both remotely and in a clinical setting. It provides patients with education and 24-7 peer and clinical support, according to a statement. 

“Kidney care in our country is broken: patients too often end up on very costly, life-altering, in-center dialysis because upside-down incentives put them there,” Cricket Health CEO Arvind Rajan said in a statement. “Our mission at Cricket is to reduce the burden of kidney disease and put patients back in control of their lives with care that is cost-effective, keeps them healthy, and gives them hope for the future. This funding will help us provide better care to millions of Americans facing kidney disease.”


New ECG patch is on the way. Redwood City-based Biotricity announced that it is working on an ECG patch that could serve as an alternative to the standard three-lead system. The company hopes that the wireless arrhythmia monitoring device, an extension to the company’s Bioflux device, will release in Q1 of next year.

“We are developing Biopatch to make it easier for patients to use without compromising quality,” Waqaas Al-Siddiq, Biotricity founder and CEO, said in a statement. “As an extension of Bioflux, Biopatch will considerably expand our addressable market.”

Care in schools. A new case study released by Tyto Care found that 98 percent of telemedicine visits through its remote examination platform were successfully completed in the school setting. The case study was done in conjunction with the Center for Rural Health Innovations’ Health-e-Schools program.

The paper also said that using the platform helped lower costs from traditional telehealth tools. The tool was implemented in 26 schools in Burke County North Carolina. The paper found that 89 percent of students who completed a Telehealth visit were able to return to class. 


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