Scott Gottlieb joins Aetion's board, Jonathan Bush named executive chairman of Firefly, and more digital health hires and departures

Also: Amy McDonough steps up as GM and SVP of Fitbit Health; Cala Health appoints Renee Ryan as CEO; Craig Maloney joins Maestro Health.
By Laura Lovett and Dave Muoio
03:59 pm

Former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb has joined the board of Aetion, a New York City-based real-world evidence analytics platform. Gottlieb, who resigned from his two-year FDA stint in April, had spearheaded the regulatory agency’s recent push to incorporate real-world data into its decision-making processes.

"Dr. Gottlieb has played a pivotal role in advancing the use of real-world evidence for regulatory decision-making,” Carolyn Magill, CEO of Aetion, said in a statment. “As a real-world evidence advocate and standard-setter, he's an ideal partner in our work to help define RWE's role in the development, delivery, and payment of treatments.”

Gottlieb has taken up a number of board and advisory positions following his FDA departure, some of which include roles with nonprofit drug development group FasterCures, Pfizer and New Enterprise Associates.

Former general manager of Fitbit Health Solutions Adam Pellegrini has departed the wearables maker in favor of a new role as SVP of transformation consumer health products at CVS, CNBC first reported earlier this month.

Citing a memo from the company’s chief transformation officer, Alan Lotvin, Pellegrini will “lead the ideation and incubation of consumer-focused health products and services that drive enterprise value and growth.” Prior to his three years at Fitbit, Pellegrini served as VP of digital health at CVS’ competitor, Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Fitbit has since announced that Amy McDonough, formerly the COO of Fitbit Health Solutions, has taken over Pellegrini’s responsibilities and now holds the role of general manager and SVP of Fitbit Health Solutions.

Jonathan Bush, cofounder and former CEO of athenahealth, will be joining health navigation and concierge platform Firefly as executive chairman. This announcement also signals Bush’s next career move after athenahealth. In 2018, he left the company following negative reports about sexual harassment, a video with lewd comments at a 2017 healthcare industry event and other news of domestic abuse in 2006 during a divorce.

“I have spent my entire career developing technologies and services to help providers better manage the more mundane aspects of healthcare,” Bush said in a statement. “Firefly Health sets all of that aside. We take the best intelligence in modern physician medicine combined with the best digital technology, and we apply this new platform outside of the cumbersome and tedious claims-based medical system. Linking a care team to a patient through their smartphone allows us to deliver a radically more convenient, proactive and intelligent model of care that leads to better care and overall patient experience — it’s inspiring.” 

Alongside news of new funding, VR pain management startup Karuna Labs announced new additions of a chief medical officer and chief technical officer to its management. The former is Dr. James Petros, an interventional pain management and musculoskeletal specialist who is also the founder and CEO of the Allied Pain & Spine Institute. The latter role went to Andy Riedel, whose three decades of experience within the gaming industry includes time at PlayStudios, Zynga and Kabam.

“These important milestones continue to solidify our leading role in changing how chronic pain is treated and patients’ ability to regain their quality of life,” Lincoln Nguyen, CEO of Karuna Labs, said in a statement. “We’re establishing a new first line of defense against chronic pain and remain focused on the lives we’re able to change through our technology while reducing the need for invasive procedures and opioid dependence.” 

Wearable neuromodulation startup Cala Health has appointed Renee Ryan as its new CEO. Formerly the VP of venture investments and Johnson & Johnson Innovation, she previously led the firm’s investment in Cala’s Series A and has been a member of the startup’s board since 2014.

The company’s prior CEO and founder, Kate Rosenbluth, will now serve on the company’s board alongside a new role as chief scientific officer.

“I’m very pleased to partner with Renee to fuel the healthy growth and expansion of Cala Health, Rosenbluth said. “Moreover, I’m excited to continue advancing our new products and realizing our vision to transform the standard of care for chronic disease with neuromodulation therapies.”

Tech-enabled employee health and benefits company Maestro Health has named Craig Maloney as the company’s next CEO, following the resignation of founder Rob Butler. 

Maloney is coming from Aon Voluntary Benefits and Enrollment Solutions Division, where he served as president. 

“I’ve observed Maestro Health from afar since its founding and have a great deal of respect for the company’s history, vision, unmistakable culture and progress under Rob’s leadership,” Maloney said in a statement. “I am excited to join the company for many reasons, not the least of which is the mission to make employee health and benefits people-friendly again. My experience in the employee benefits space paired with Maestro Health’s commitment to improving the healthcare experience for all will enable us to accelerate the execution of the company’s key initiatives. I look forward to building upon the momentum I’ve seen thus far, together with a very talented team.”

This morning adherence and care communication platform Ōmcare announced that Jeannine Rivet has joined its board of directors. Her previous roles include VP of UnitedHealth Group, CEO of Optum and CEO of Ingenix. A trained nurse, she also holds an MPH from Boston University. 

“Our society is aging, and the number of seniors who need health care assistance is rapidly outpacing the population of potential caregivers. At the same time, the cost of non-adherence to medication plans exceeds $300 billion,” Lisa Lavin, founder and CEO of Ōmcare, said in a statement. “Jeannine has a unique perspective as both a former clinician and managed care executive that is essential to helping us change this dynamic and achieve our mission of enabling care from anywhere.”

Telemedicine company Doctor On Demand have named two new executives. The first is Cherry Glass, who will serve as the next CCO and president. Cherry’s role will include growing and expanding the commercialization efforts of the company. The second hire is David Dean, who will take up the position of VP of business development. This role will include working with payer entities and managing business strategy. 

“We’ve made tremendous strides this year innovating and expanding the capabilities of virtual care, including the introduction of virtual primary care. By building out our leadership team, we continue this momentum with a strengthened focus on our commercial efforts,” Hill Ferguson, CEO of Doctor On Demand, said in a statement. “Robin and David each bring healthcare experience uniquely suited to accelerate our growth and bolster our ability to be the best possible partner to health plans and employers.”

AI-enabled workflow management tool Robin Healthcare revealed that former cofounder and CTO of Siri Tom Gruber will be joining the company as a formal advisor. Gruber led teams at Apple for more than eight years. 

“We’re thrilled to have Tom join our Advisory Board. His wealth of experience and proven track record in AI and smart assistants will be invaluable to Robin as we continue to expand our industry-leading digital assistant to doctors and patients nationwide,” Noah Auerhahn, cofounder and CEO of Robin, said in a statement. 

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(Image: "1 US Bank Note"/geralt via Pixabay, licensed under Creative Commons Zero)

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