Dear fellow digital health enthusiasts, 

Enjoy your 15 minutes of digital health. Btw: If you come across an interesting study / article, please feel free to share with us. Highly appreciated.

In 2019, already four digital health companies have gone public (Health Catalyst, Livongo Health, Phreesia and Change Healthcare) with a summed up market cap of USD 7.1bn. So far, digital health fell short of expectations when it came to exits, but those IPOs are an encouraging signal for investors. There is currently an appetite for things combined: health care technology and services that have significant revenue. Moreover, investment bankers are running around pitching IPO processes to potential candidates. Let’s keep in mind, that not every digital health IPO is substantially successful (e.g. Fitbit, Castlight and NantHealth). [≈ 8min]

Johns Hopkins, a leading US hospital, recently launched a research center focusing on psychedelics. Funded with USD 17mn from private donors, it will investigate its effectiveness in treatment of various conditions (addiction, PTSD, Alzheimer’s diseases, depression etc.). Research into psychedelics was put on hold after Nixon proclaimed the War on Drugs in the early 70s, but it seems to experience a revival. Why now? Well, the War on Drugs was not successful, the recent cannabis boom (legalization + consumer adoption + investment dollars) may reduce stigma and last but not least there are still various (especially mental) disorders without satisfying treatment options. Researcher at Johns Hopkins already demonstrated the first benefits of psychedelics treating depression and nicotine addiction. [≈ 5min]

After acquiring Aetna for USD 70bn, CVS is striving to become an integrated healthcare provider and has been rapidly expanding its influence in transforming healthcare delivery.  Further it tries to capture the space of consumer healthcare, such as Walgreens, which has also been aggressively working to establish itself as a force in the consumer health market. In order to reach this goal, CVS hired a former Fitbit executive to lead the ideation and incubation of consumer-focused health products and services. [≈ 2min]

Closing as always with the quote of the week: «We’ve inadvertently designed a society where it’s hard to be healthy. So many of the solutions aren’t available to most people.» Steve Downs, chief technology and strategy officer for the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

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Have a productive week,

Dominik & Min-Sung