Happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend.
The renowned health system Cleveland Clinic has never been shy about its digital health ambitions, whether by using virtual reality to treat surgeons or touting the promise of artificial intelligence. Now, it’s taking those ambitions one step further through a partnership with telemedicine giant American Well.
The two organizations are teaming up on a pioneering new venture to provide virtual medical care—including, importantly, care for complicated health conditions which require a specialist, and not just primary medical services—to an array of patients. These will be administered through a new, joint firm called The Clinic.
Cleveland Clinic CEO Tom Mihaljevic underscores how this will be different from existing telehealth platforms and virtual care services.
“This new venture marks the first time that a major digital health technology platform has partnered with a globally recognized healthcare provider to deliver digital solutions for complex healthcare problems,” he said in a statement.
And here’s a fascinating nugget: This isn’t just a fancy new technological foray for the firms. Cleveland Clinic fully expects telemedicine visits to be a growing part of its business strategy. In fact, the group projects that “50% of outpatient visits will be virtual” within the next five years.
Read on for the day’s news.
Sy Mukherjee, @the_sy_guy, email@example.com
A new gene editing tech hopes to fix CRISPR's limitations. Who edits the gene editors? Apparently, a budding new tech called "base editing" (or at least that's what scientists hope). Broad Institute chemist David Liu, a genomic editing pioneer, and Andrew Anzalone have been working on a platform that could be more flexible than the relatively rigid CRISPR-Cas9 system, allowing one piece of genetic code to flip over to another (including one that's not necessarily its biological pair). (WIRED)
Drug giants reach last-minute settlement in a closely watched opioid case. The first federal opioid case was slated to begin this morning in Ohio. But it came to a rather climactic... non-start, as three major drug distributors (McKesson, Cardinal Health, and AmerisourceBergen) as well as pharma giant Teva Pharmaceuticals came to a $260 million settlement with two Ohio counties. This was just the first of some 2,600 opioid-related cases still slated around the country but was seen as a harbinger of what may come next. Strikingly, Walgreens, another company named in these specific suits, did not join in the settlement, asserting they are in a very different position from opioid distributors and manufacturers accused of unethical marketing and distribution practices. (Fortune)
Vertex shares spike on latest cystic fibrosis drug approval. Shares of Vertex Pharmaceuticals rose 4% in Monday trading after the company received an early Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval for its latest cystic fibrosis (CF) drug—a triple-combo treatment called Trikafta that could treat 90% of patients with the rare lung and digestive system disease. Vertex is the faraway leader in the CF treatment space (and, in a bit of prescience from our latest Future 50 list released this morning, poised for explosive growth thanks to its strengths).
THE BIG PICTURE
The health care companies poised for massive growth. Speaking of the Fortune Future 50.... The latest iteration of the companies headed for significant growth, based on data gleaned from BCG, was released this morning. Beyond the aforementioned Vertex, firms such as robotic surgery specialist Intuitive Surgical, genomic sequencing giant Illumina, artificial heart valve specialist Edwards Lifesciences, and others made the cut. Read through the 2019 list to find out why. (Fortune)
Spotify Saved the Music Industry. Now What? by Andrew Nusca
The Future 50 Sustainability All-Stars, by Fortune Editors
Inside Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit, by Emma Hinchliffe
How Regulators Nearly Killed Off Libra—and Why They Might Yet Have Second Thought About the Digital Currency, by Geoffrey Smith
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