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Brainstorm Health Daily: August 11, 2017

August 11, 2017, 2:51 PM UTC

Good morning, Dailies. Happy Friday.

Alan has a terrific write-up of our conversation with Oscar CEO Mario Schlosser—which you can read here. (And, by the way, if you aren’t already getting CEO Daily in your inbox each morning, I highly recommend you sign up.)

I’m up in Maine now, for a brief respite from New York City heat, but will be back next week with some Big Maine-y Thoughts to share.

Have a great weekend, everybody. Sy has the news below.

Clifton Leaf, Editor in Chief, FORTUNE
@CliftonLeaf
clifton.leaf@fortune.com

DIGITAL HEALTH

Pigs could become human organ donors thanks to CRISPR—Holy sow! In a milestone breakthrough, biotech eGenesis says it has successfully birthed pigs that don't carry porcine endogenous retroviruses (PERVs). The team was able to remove the problematic pathogens by using revolutionary CRISPR-Cas9 gene editing technology. And it may represent the first step on the road to using pig organs as viable options for humans. “This is the first publication to report on PERV-free pig production,” said Luhan Yang, co-founder and chief scientific officer at eGenesis, in a statement. “This research represents an important advance in addressing safety concerns about cross-species viral transmission. Our team will further engineer the PERV-free pig strain to deliver safe and effective xenotransplantation.” (Fortune)

INDICATIONS

L.A. billionaire Soon-Shiong's company is hemorrhaging money. Patrick Soon-Shiong, the controversial Los Angeles billionaire and the richest doctor in the world, is pursuing some major cost-cutting at NantHealth, a cancer-focused firm that's bleeding money. NantHealth posted a $70 million loss in its latest quarter, leading to a 300-person planned staff reduction. Both NantHealth and NantKwest, which focused on immuno-oncology, have seen their shares decimated since their massive IPOs. (FierceBiotech)

FDA: Patient deaths being investigated after gastric balloon device procedures. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is investigating patient deaths following an obesity-fighting procedure which involves the use of balloons that fill up inside the stomach and remain for about six months. This alternative to traditional weight loss bariatric surgery has been failed for its non-invasive nature (and its far lower price). But five patients died of complications that may potentially be linked to the devices (although there is no certain link right now). “At this time, we do not know the root cause or incidence rate of patient death, nor have we been able to definitively attribute the deaths to the devices or the insertion procedures for these devices,” said the FDA in a notice. (Los Angeles Times)

THE BIG PICTURE

Trump declares opioid epidemic a national emergency, reversing Secretary Price. Two days after Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price stated that the White House opioid commission's recommendation that President Trump declare a a national emergency over the opioid epidemic was unnecessary, Trump announced Thursday that he would be doing exactly that. "The opioid crisis is an emergency and I'm saying officially right now it is an emergency," Trump told reporters. "We're going to draw it up and we're going to make it a national emergency. It is a serious problem, the likes of which we have never had." (Fortune)

REQUIRED READING

Google CEO Sundar Pichai Tells Girls: 'We Need You'by Helen Regan

You Don't Want to Know What'll Happen If the U.S. Strikes North Korea Firstby Yun Sun

Apple iPhones Are About to Get a Lot More Usefulby Barb Darrow

Benchmark Capital Shocked, Shocked to Discover Kalanick's Flawsby Adam Lashinsky

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
@the_sy_guy
sayak.mukherjee@fortune.com

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