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Brainstorm Health: Health Care AI, Quarterly Biotech Reports, Novartis Deal

Happy Monday, readers.

I’m on my way to the Fortune Brainstorm Health conference in San Diego, where our ridiculously stacked speaker set will address, well, a good chunk of things worth addressing in the digital health, biopharma, and public health spheres.

A study published in the journal Nature Digital Medicine last week just happens to happily coincide with our Southern California get together. It raises one the most important questions in this nascent era of algorithmic medicine—when are AI and big data analytics most effective in real world medicine?

The authors propose some theories following an extensive, and unique, collaboration between AI researchers and medical professionals at Stanford and Utah’s Intermountain LDS Hospital system, the MIT Technology Review reports. In short, sensors were placed into patients’ rooms to keep tabs on when they moved around (a predictor of faster healing in many cases); while these proved accurate for patient movements, the researchers realized there could be problems with more people, such as medical staff, in the room. Ultimately, the hope is such technology can assist doctors and nurses by predicting problems with a patient before they actually happen.

What may be most interesting about the findings, though, is the practical problem researchers faced with multiple people in the room. That’s the kind of real-world troubleshooting that will determine whether these technologies transform health care or remain the stuff of pipe dreams. And those are the exact kinds of issues we’ll be chewing over in the coming days at Brainstorm Health (if you’ll be there, I hope you’ll say hello).

Read on for the day’s news.

Sy Mukherjee


Mount Sinai launches digital health center. New York’s renowned Mount Sinai hospital will launch a digital health-focused institute in partnership with Germany’s Hasso Plattner Institute, which put up a $15 million donation to help establish the new outfit. The center will focus on digital health app development and research, and follows on the footsteps of multiple big name health systems such as the Cleveland Clinic and Cedars-Sinai in ramping up digital health investment. (Becker’s Hospital Review)


Novartis’ $310 million inflammation bet. Swiss drug giant Novartis is ponying up $310 million upfront to strike up a R&D partnership with Boston-based IFM Therapeutics, which specializes in inflammation-related conditions (that can, theoretically, span the gamut from arthritis to cancer to even neurological disorders). Some of the world’s most lucrative drugs (including those for psoriasis and arthritis) fall into this category, though Novartis’ bet focuses on IFM’s assets’ potential in liver inflammation diseases like NASH and irritable bowel syndrome. (Reuters)

Should early stage biotechs issue quarterly reports? Biotech’s largest trade group has an intriguing plea for the SEC: Stop requiring small, early-stage biotechs to issue quarterly earnings reports. The logic here is, these companies are so early on in the process that these reports provide few opportunities for level-headed assessment (after all, drug development is multi, multi-years long process) and serves to boost short sellers. In BIO’s mind, a semi-annual report would be more appropriate. I have a feeling some investors may take issue with the proposal. (Endpoints News)


Fresenius reaches $231 million settlement for foreign bribery allegations. Kidney care and dialysis specialist Fresenius will pay $231 million to settle allegations of bribery to public health officials in a number of foreign countries, the Department of Justice announced. The allegations include schemes to win contracts to build dialysis centers for state-owned military hospitals in certain nations. (Reuters)


Questions Linger About Bayer Monsanto Deal Following Cancer Rulingsby David Meyer

U.S. Stocks Post Best Quarter in Nearly a Decadeby Kevin Kelleher

Here’s What Employers Want from the Class of 2019by Anne Fisher

How Diversity of Opinion Makes This Digital Educator a Better CEOby Damanick Dantes

Produced by Sy Mukherjee
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