Healthcare VC Outlook; Plus, Covid And Cognitive Function


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The volatility in the public markets and the slowdown in later stage financing after a whirlwind 2021 shouldn’t deter future founders. “It’s still a great time to start a company if you’ve got a good idea,” Vineeta Agarwala, general partner at a16z told the Forbes Health In Action event on Wednesday. Since we cannot control the macroeconomic environment, Agarwala said founders and investors should instead focus on what they can control: “a rational plan for every financing that a company goes through.” This means past, current and future rounds need to be “back calculated from important milestones that help you hit that next inflection point,” she added.

Deena Shakir, a partner at Lux Capital, still believes it’s an exciting time for early-stage startups, even though the current environment may be more challenging for mid-to-later-stage companies. “I think now there’s going to be more scrutiny and focus – which is a good thing – on sound fundamentals, on the quality of revenue (not just top line growth) and on the importance of healthy margins,” said Shakir. “A lot of things that perhaps were overlooked or maybe dusted under the rug, and the funding environment in the last few years.” Belt-tightening and recalibration in the present means the industry will see stronger long-term growth.


Aetna Cancels In-Network Contract With Mental Health Startup Cerebral

Health insurer Aetna is canceling its in-network contract with Cerebral in August, the mental health startup’s CEO told employees on Wednesday. “We are still seeking an explanation for Aetna’s decision,” Cerebral CEO David Mou wrote in a message to employees. Cerebral, valued at $4.8 billion after a $300 million funding round led by SoftBank last year, is being investigated by the Department of Justice around its prescribing of controlled dangerous substances, including stimulants such as Adderall. Aetna’s parent company CVS Health stopped filling prescriptions for controlled dangerous substances for Cerebral patients last month. Read more here.

Deals Of The Week

Oracle-Cerner Acquisition Closes: Oracle completed its $28.3 billion acquisition of healthcare technology company Cerner on Wednesday. Oracle’s chairman and CTO Larry Ellison will discuss the company’s healthcare strategy at an event on Thursday.

Mega Manufacturing Round: Biomanufacturing company Resilience announced it raised a $625 million series D round, bringing its total capital raised to over $2 billion. The company plans to use the financing to expand its infrastructure network and develop new manufacturing technologies.

Flu Vaccine Ramp Up: Influenza vaccine company Sequirus announced the completion of a $156 million expansion of its manufacturing plant in North Carolina. The company says the facility’s production line will be ready to produce vaccines for the 2022/23 season.

Second Seed Fund: Wavemaker Three-Sixty Health, a health-focused seed stage venture firm, closed a $64 million second fund this week. The goal of Fund II, which is four times the size of its first fund, is to invest in 40-50 healthcare startups. One of its Fund II portfolio companies, remote patient monitoring startup Alertive Healthcare, was acquired by Carbon Health last year.

Primary Care: Aledade, which provides software to help primary care doctors participate in value-based care programs, raised a $123 million Series E. The funding puts the company’s post-money valuation at $3.1 billion valuation, according to a person familiar with the deal first reported by Insider. The company, which says it had more than $300 million in revenue in 2021, will use the funds to expand its Medicare Advantage offerings.


South Dakota voters overwhelmingly rejected a measure that would have required certain ballot initiatives, like Medicaid expansion, to pass with 60% support instead of a simple majority.

UnitedHealth Group’s foundation is committing $100 million to advance health equity with a focus on funding scholarships for underrepresented healthcare professionals over the next 10 years.

Carbon Health, a primary care startup that combines software with in-person clinics, laid off 250 employees last week blaming volatile capital markets and a shrinking Covid business.

Coronavirus Updates

Anew study published today in Scientific Reports found that people who’ve contracted Covid-19 report more cognitive failures when they’re at work compared to people who never had it. This includes issues with memory, attention and concentration. And the researchers found people continued to report these issues even after they’d recovered from the initial illness. “Individuals returning to work after contracting Covid-19 may experience difficulties returning to their pre-Covid-19 level of performance, and accommodations may be necessary,” the researchers wrote. “This may include reducing workloads, extending deadlines, or providing flexible work arrangements.”

Moderna’s Booster Shot Targeting Omicron And Original Strain Could Be Available Late Summer After Promising Trials

Moderna is hoping to launch a new Covid booster shot this fall that targets both the original coronavirus strain and omicron variant after promising early results from clinical trials, the company announced Wednesday, as public health officials, scientists and pharmaceutical firms all move to anticipate what Covid will look like in the future. Read more here.

Other Coronavirus News

Vaccinated people with HIV face a 28% higher risk of contracting breakthrough Covid-19 infections than people without HIV, according to new research that argues those with HIV should be a high-priority group for vaccine booster shots.

The country of Japan is reopening to travelers this month but with rules in place: they will be required to wear masks, take out medical insurance to cover expenses in the event they contract Covid-19 and be chaperoned by tour guides throughout their trip.

Chinese automaker Geely Automobile Holdings said its sales declined by 7% in May from a year earlier as Covid lockdowns disrupted the world’s largest auto market.

An FDA advisory committee on Tuesday voted unanimously to endorse Novavax’s protein-based Covid-19 vaccine, bringing the shot one step closer to becoming the fourth FDA-authorized coronavirus shot for adults.

Across Forbes

How Two Africans Overcame Bias To Build A Startup Worth Billions

Facebook Made This 29-Year-Old Rich; War Made Him A Billionaire

EXCLUSIVE: U.S. Government Ordered Travel Companies To Spy On Russian Hacker For Years And Report His Whereabouts Every Week

What Else We are Reading

As monkeypox threat grows, scientists debate best vaccine strategy (Science)

Don’t Wait to Get Your Kid Vaccinated (The Atlantic)

FDA Warns DNA Sequencing Machines Could Be Hacked (Bloomberg)

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