Dear fellow digital health enthusiasts, 

Since this year’s healthcare section of Mary Meeker’s Internet Trends report was falling a bit short, we are happy that there’s a new kid on the block: CB Insights published its first global health care report for Q2 2019. Insightful read.

Key highlights: Of the 10 most active VCs in digital health in Q2 2019, not a single one is headquartered in Europe. There are two possible explanations: Either there are just no opportunities here … or there is a very big opportunity here. We believe the latter to be true 😉 

«No worries, we anonymize your data!» In health care, data holds the potential for both product and process optimization. Historically, health care data was either unavailable (paper snippets are difficult to analyze), stored in silos or not accessible. And for good reason: Due to its sensitivity, protecting it is a priority. One attempt to solve the dilemma between sensitivity and potential upside was anonymization. Aggregated data of huge patient cohorts, stripped of personal identifiable information (PII) that could be analyzed to identify patterns (e.g. relevant in drug development, clinical trials, insurance claims, treatment outcomes). Unfortunately though, true anonymization is a false promise. Interesting read. [≈ 4min]
Elizabeth Holmes, founder of Theranos (total funding: USD 1.4bn), faces potential jail time, uBiome (total funding: USD 110mn) was investigated by the FBI for fraudulent billing, and Outcome Health (total funding: USD 500mn), a health care advertising company provided misleading information to drugmakers on where their ads were showing up and how they performed. How did all those companies raise their money? With a history of false claims, it’s important for corporates & investors who want to partner with digital health start-ups, to CYA (corporate slang: cover your ass). A medical diligence service for tech player to vet scientific claims could be an interesting approach to bridge health care’s knowledge gaps. Next iteration: tech diligence service for clinical incumbents? [≈ 4

«The AI will see you know?». Probably not for long. AI won’t replace doctors, but support their daily work (Credit Suisse report). It could also increase access to patient care. However, to truly work in favor of patients, they need to own their data. Further consumers will collect more and more of their own data and turn to third-party AI diagnostic systems, much as they now search for medical information on the web as part of their healthcare management.  [≈ 4min]

Around two years ago, Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates announced his USD 100mn Dementia Discovery Fund, a venture capital fund that brings together industry and government to seek treatments for the brain disease. Newest hire: Andrew Trister, who was researching whether consumer gadgets like smartwatches and sleep trackers could be used to spot early signs of dementia. Dementia, of which Alzheimer’s is the most common form, affects close to 50mn people worldwide and is expected to affect more than 131mn by 2050. [≈ 3min]

Closing as always with the quote of the week: «Back in the 80s, the computer industry in total was less than USD 100bn. The healthcare industry today is USD 3.6tn, just in the US. What will it mean when Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft all move into the healthcare industry? It has already started.» – John Sculley, Former CEO of Apple and President of Pepsi-Cola, now working on the next big thing in healthcare!

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Have a productive week,
Dominik & Min-Sung