Halfway in, 2020 looks like a banner year for digital health M&As, with 35 deals

Although most deals are undisclosed and some are partial asset acquisitions, the numbers undeniably show a busy year for the space.
By Jonah Comstock
11:46 am

Economic downturns and catastrophic events can often prompt market consolidation, so perhaps it's no great surprise that the first half of 2020 has been unusually active when it comes to mergers and acquisitions, especially in the second quarter.

MobiHealthNews tracked 23 confirmed acquisitions in Q2, plus one credibly reported one, and another 11 in Q1, for 35 so far this year – six up from last year's mid-year total of 29, although one caveat worth mentioning is that a number of the year's acquisitions are partial acquisitions of technology assets.

Some deals represented clear consolidation in crowded subsets of the market: Healthy.io and Inui in home diagnostics, Fusion Health and Nox Health in sleep, and AireHealth and BreathResearch in respiratory care. Others showed the continued investment of big players in the space through acquisition – players like Novartis, lululemon and Walmart.

With disclosed price tags for only a handful of the deals, it's hard to say anything definitive about the money, but it comes to at least $1.2 billion, and that goes up to $1.6 billion if you count the still-unconfirmed merger: Optum's planned $470 million purchase of AbleTo.

As usual, you can read on below for all 35 deals, sorted descending price-tag order, then in chronological order for those with prices undisclosed, which make up the majority. (As a side note, my email is always open for tips, including ones about acquisition prices, if you're an investor or stakeholder who feels inclined to fill in some of those blanks). Take this list with our usual grains of salt: We use a broad definition of digital health that some might disagree with, and these are the deals we reported on in the first half of 2020, though they may have closed or been announced outside of that time frame.

Teladoc acquires InTouch Health for $600 millionAlthough this deal was originally announced in January, it was only completed earlier this month. The terms included $150 million in cash and $450 million in common stock, which, thanks to COVID-19, is worth about twice now what it was in January.

Teladoc says the integration of InTouch's technologies, tailored for "complex medical environments" of all shapes and sizes, will help Teladoc offer wider service and improved patient experience in acute care, ambulatory care and home care settings. The deal boosts the company's end-to-end offerings, said Teladoc officials, thus improving its ability to enable virtual acute visits, help with remote management of chronic conditions and offer providers new modes of specialty care and remote surgery. 

“Teladoc health historically doesn’t get enough credit for how much of a technology company it is and how hard it is to deliver all of these services in this regulatory environment, to the right place at the right time," Joseph DeVivo, former CEO of InTouch, now president of Hospitals and Health Systems at Teladoc, said in an emailed statement. "Now adding to their incredible tech stack is the InTouch technology that brings all of the brick-and-mortar facilities and more of the historic delivery of care onto the portfolio. We think virtual care is the great equalizer to democratized care.”

lululemon acquires Mirror for $500 million. Exercise apparel company lululemon athletica announced late in the quarter its acquisition of Mirror, an in-home fitness-content-streaming platform, for $500 million, in a deal slated to close at the end of the second fiscal quarter. lululemon said in its announcement that Mirror will continue to operate as a standalone company underneath its new parent. Launched in 2018, Mirror had raised roughly $72 million from investors such as Point72 Ventures, Spark Capital and lululemon.

Optum reportedly acquiring AbleTo for $470 millionThough it's still unconfirmed, CNBC reported at the end of April that UnitedHealth Group's Optum unit was close to finalizing a $470 million purchase of virtual behavioral-care company AbleTo. 

Founded in 2008, the company works with payers to provide individualized behavioral health programs, which include virtual sessions with live therapists, to members. While Optum would likely fold the company's business into its own collection of tech-driven healthcare services, the deal could also provide UnitedHealth Group's insurance businesses with a new behavioral health resource to offer their members.

The DNA Company acquires My Pain Sensei for $30 million. Direct-to-consumer genomics startup The DNA Company announced its purchase of digital therapeutic My Pain Sensei for roughly $30 million. The technology from the two companies will be combined to form a new platform called My Next Health, which will use genomic information to help users get insights into preventing and managing chronic conditions. 

Omada acquires Physera for a reported $30 million. Digital chronic-disease-program company Omada Health snapped up Physera, an app-based platform that includes remote consultations with physical therapists. When the deal was announced in May, Omada said it would "immediately" begin offering the MSK program to its employer, health plan and individual customers. Terms were not disclosed, but CNBC reported a price tag around $30 million.

Healthy.io acquires Inui Health for $9 million. Late in the quarter, news broke that Israel-based smartphone urinalysis and wound-care startup Healthy.io was purchasing fellow home-diagnostics company Inui Health – formerly Scanadu – in a roughly $9 million cash deal. The acquisition consolidates two of the better-known startups in the smartphone urine-testing market.

Pear Therapeutics acquires tech from Firsthand Technology. At the start of the year, Pear Therapeutics announced the acquisition of two pain-relief therapies from healthcare VR company Firsthand Technology. The first, called “Cool!,” distracts patients from pain or anxiety by having the user play games with virtual otters in a remote snowy landscape, and has been evaluated in clinical studies dating as far back as 2000. The second, called “Glow!,” saw its first proof-of-concept clinical studies published in 2015, and instead has users practice mindfulness and self-control while gathering virtual fireflies.

Fusion Health and Nox Health merge Tech-enabled sleep-health startups Fusion Health and Nox Health merged in January under the Nox Health name. 

Atlanta-based Fusion Health worked with payers and employers to deliver sleep treatment programs. Historically, its main focus has been on population sleep health. Meanwhile, Icelandic company Nox had focused on sleep analytics and diagnostics. The company’s sleep products include a connected sleep monitor, software analysis system, sensors and a wireless "access point" that can receive physiological signals during the night. By joining their efforts, the companies say they will be able to bring their sleep-health offerings to more individuals who could benefit from diagnostics and treatment programs.

Providence St. Joseph Health acquires Health Management Resource from Merck. Providence St. Joseph Health announced that it was acquiring weight-management program HMR (Health Management Resources) from Merck. The tech-enabled program offers an app with weight-loss resources, group phone-coaching and in-person classes. Prior to this acquisition three of HMR’s clinics were inside of Providence facilities, and the organization was already referring its employees to the services. 

Verana Health acquires tech from PYA AnalyticsVerana Health (formerly known as DigiSight), a startup focused on curating and analyzing real-world clinical data, purchased PYA Analytics’ technology assets and team. PYA Analytics specializes in large-scale data architecture solutions and has experience linking clinical records with images. 

Medtronic acquires Digital Surgery. U.S. medical technology provider Medtronic has announced the acquisition of Digital Surgery, a U.K.-based company specializing in surgical AI and digital-education and -training. The purchase integrates Digital Surgery into Medtronic’s Surgical Robotics business, a subset of its Minimally Invasive Therapies Group. Medtronic is the largest medical device supplier in the world. By absorbing the technological expertise of Digital Surgery, it will be able to expand patient access to quality medical care.

Pear Sports acquires Functional Solutions. In late February, digital fitness-coaching platform Pear Sports announced that it had purchased fellow exercise-focused startup Functional Solutions. Following this acquisition, Pear Sports (not to be confused with digital therapeutics darling Pear Therapeutics) plans to roll Functional Solutions’ visual programming and custom fitness content into its enterprise SaaS. This can then be sold to gyms, hotels, resorts and other companies seeking custom workout plans.

Sharecare acquires Visualize Health. Digital health-engagement platform Sharecare announced in the first quarter that it was acquiring Visualize Health, a population health and quality measurement platform that helps providers catch any gaps in patient care. Sharecare said that the acquisition will allow it to roll out new tools including medical-record management and billing-contract compliance, in turn growing its revenue streams. 

Caravan Health acquires Wellpepper.  Caravan Health, a company that helps providers transition into accountable care organizations, dipped into the digital space with the acquisition of patient-engagement tech-vendor Wellpepper. Founded in 2012, Wellpepper worked with health plans to provide its patients with digital treatment-plans, messaging services and an alert system, among other tools. Caravan said it will be using this tool to boost communication between care teams and patients. 

Ginger acquires LiveBetter's technologyGinger acquired fellow digital mental-wellness company LiveBetter's technology assets. LiveBetter has focused on bringing virtual mental health tools to smartphone users for free. Meanwhile Ginger focuses on providing digital mental health services, including behavior-health coaching, video therapy, telepsychiatry visits and other self-guided content. It specifically targets those dealing with anxiety and depression. The platform offers human-to-human support, as well as technology-enabled insights.

Wellable acquires MeYou Health's Daily Challenge product. Employee-wellness company Wellable acquired assets from fellow digital-wellness product-maker MeYou Health. While the terms of the deal were not disclosed, it does transfer ownership of MeYou's Daily Challenge product to Wellable. This program encourages healthy eating, physical activity, stress management and other behaviors through daily email and text-message suggestions, and encourages individuals to engage their social network as they do so.

Biofourmis acquires Takeda's oncology tool Gaido Health. Remote-monitoring and decision-support startup Biofourmis announced plans to acquire Takeda Pharmaceuticals’ Gaido Health, an oncology-focused digital tool. Gaido originated as part of Takeda Digital Ventures. Now the plan is to combine Gaido with Biofourmis’ Biovitals platform. Gaido’s tool is able to combine remote monitoring, patient surveys and analytics in order to monitor cancer patients at home and detect possible signs of complications. Gaido has been used in clinical trials so far, but this new integration will be the first time the tool is commercially available. 

Novartis acquires Amblyotech. In the spring, international pharma giant Novartis announced the acquisition of Amblyotech, a startup that combines 3D glasses and video-game software to treat amblyopia, more commonly known as "lazy eye." Novartis also said that it will be developing new games and kicking off a proof-of-concept study alongside major French video game publisher Ubisoft and McGill University later this year.

One Drop acquires Sano Intelligence. Digital diabetes-management company One Drop acquired the assets, IP and certain staff from Sano Intelligence, the maker of a noninvasive, connected CGM patch. One Drop, which primarily sells a wireless blood glucose monitoring system and a data-driven self-management app, said that its goal was to acquire and integrate Sano's technology and years of research into its own offerings. The company highlighted Sano's silicon-sensing product infrastructure, which it aims to incorporate into "a painless, silicon-based continuous health sensing platform for use across multiple conditions."

Proxy acquires Motiv. Fitness and sleep-tracking smart-ring-maker Motiv was acquired by Proxy, a company specializing in digital-identity security. The companies announced the purchase in accompanying blog posts, and did not share the terms of the deal. Proxy CEO Denis Mars wrote that his company has hired "a majority" of Motiv's employees, and will be shifting the focus of Motiv's consumer platform away from health tracking and toward biometric authentication for the home and enterprise.

Pear Sports acquires Performance Lab. Just a few months after buying Functional Solutions, Pear Sports acquired Performance Lab, which specializes in using AI to gain insights into athletic performance and then developing a personalized exercise program. Pear Sports plans to use this technology in its real-time interactive coaching tool.

HealthAssure acquires FitMeIn. Over in India, Mumbai-based primary healthcare aggregator HealthAssure acquired FitMeIn, an on-demand fitness subscription service delivered through a technology-enabled network of more than 2,500 fitness centers and coaches. With this transaction, HealthAssure aims to serve the healthcare needs of more than five million individuals in India from fitness solutions to primary care by the end of 2020.

ArchiMed acquires ActiGraph. ActiGraph, whose industry leadership in medical-grade activity and sleep-tracking devices predates the consumer-fitness-wearable craze, was acquired by ArchiMed, a private equity firm that specializes in the healthcare space, in May.

Elekta acquires Kaiku Health. Swedish oncology-focused Elekta announced its purchase of Kaiku Health, a Helsinki-based startup focused on patient monitoring and patient-reported outcome services. As part of this deal Kaiku Health’s app, which allows patients to track symptoms over time, and can alert doctors or researchers with updates, will be integrated into Elekta’s Mosaiq Oncology Information System.

OptumHealth acquires naviHealth. OptumHealth, the healthcare services and delivery business of UnitedHealth Group's Optum, has acquired naviHealth, a post-acute care management platform for health plans and providers. Optum said that naviHealth will continue to work with its clients and members as a stand-alone entity that is aligned with OptumHealth. CEO Clay Richards – who cofounded the company in 2012 alongside former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services Administrator Tom Scully – will continue to head naviHealth's leadership team.

Maven acquires Bright ParentingDigital women’s health platform Maven acquired parent-child relationship app Bright Parenting. As part of the deal, Bright Parenting’s app will be embedded into Maven’s upcoming pediatrics and parenting program. Bright Parenting is focused on helping parents form better relationships with their child. The tool specifically focuses on bonding with children 2 to 10 years of age, and offers caregivers personalized tips and activities that employ cognitive behavioral therapy approaches.

Sharecare acquires MindSciencesIn its second acquisition of the year, Sharecare picked up Mind Sciences, a behavior-change-app company it has worked with in the past. As part of this acquisition, MindSciences programs will be available to Sharecare’s enterprise partners and consumers. Currently its offerings are split into three programs: Craving to Quit, a smoking cessation-based program; Eat Right Now, a program focused on binge eating and weight loss; and Unwinding Anxiety, developed to help stress and anxiety. All three of the programs were developed to help clients understand how their brain works and the ways that habits are created, in order to curb unwanted behaviors. 

AireHealth acquires BreathResearchAireHealth, maker of an FDA-cleared portable nebulizer that pairs with a smartphone app for remote monitoring, announced in June the acquisition of fellow respiratory health company BreathResearch. The merger agreement sees AireHealth adding BreathResearch's IP, research and patents, which include work on machine learning analytics for respiratory-condition tracking. BreathResearch's Silicon Valley-based staff will also be making the transition, with founder Nirinjan Yee now taking on a role as head of innovation for AireHealth.

Walmart acquires CareZone. In an effort to further its foothold in the healthcare space, Walmart acquired digital medication-management company CareZone’s tech platform, patents and “key intellectual property.” While CareZone will remain a separate, unrelated company, some of its employees on the product and tech team will be joining Walmart in order to help integrate the system. The platform caters to individuals with multiple medications. Patients or family members scan pill bottles, and, in turn, the platform can create a list of the medications and share with medical teams. The tool also has medication reminders.

Doximity acquires THMED. Doximity, a self-described social network for doctors, announced that it purchased healthcare-staffing firm THMED. Following the acquisition, THMED will be changing its name to Curative and will be focusing on personalized medical-staffing searches. Specifically, it will be focusing on connecting medical groups and healthcare facilities to clinicians, and will be “powered by” Doximity. 

Unite Us acquires Staple Health. Community care service-coordination platform Unite Us acquired Staple Health, a social determinants of health analytics company. Founded in 2017, Staple Health's specialty is predictive analytics regarding the role social factors can play in various health outcomes. Unite Us was interested in adding these strengths to its existing in-house analytics capabilities.

KRY acquires Helsa. Sweden-based, digital healthcare-company KRY (known as Livi outside of the Nordics) recently announced its merger with healthcare company Helsa, which operates fourteen health centers across five regions in Sweden. From mid-August, the merger will combine the benefits of digitalization with physical health centers and will enable KRY to treat more symptoms while continuing to provide high-quality care. Helsa is one of Sweden's largest healthcare companies, with around 500 employees located in Halland, Kronoberg, Skåne, Stockholm and Östergötland. 

Brainlab acquires LevelEx. Level Ex, a Chicago startup that makes medical-training video games for doctors, has been acquired by Munich-based medical-technology company Brainlab, the companies announced. LevelEx will continue to operate as an independent entity. Brainlab is a roughly 1,400-person company that focuses on a range of hardware and software technologies for cranial, spinal, trauma, orthopedic, otorhinolaryngology and craniomaxillofacial surgeries. LevelEx CEO Sam Glassenberg said that Level Ex has had a relationship with the company for years, thanks to a project involving the game-maker's graphics-rendering technology, and he is most excited by Brainlab's work on emerging new software technologies.

Garmin acquires Firstbeat Analytics. Garmin purchased Firstbeat Analytics, the business unit of Firstbeat Technologies responsible for physiological-measurement algorithms for use with consumer health and wellness devices. Headquartered in Jyvaskyla, Finland, Firstbeat Analytics has been providing software that interprets various data collected from sensors. It has licensed the technology to a handful of consumer-fitness device-makers – including Garmin – to enable the tracking of wearers' stress, sleep, VO2 max, respiration rate, calories burned and several other metrics.

Bringing Firstbeat's business in-house gives Garmin more control over how the health-tracking technology develops, and also places Garmin in a position of power over competitors who were also licensing Firstbeat's technology – Casio, Xiaomi, Huawei, Amazfit and Suunto, to name a few. 


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