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3 billionaire tech industry leaders will build robots, Allergan will pay $2.1B for double chin eliminator Kythera (Morning Read)

SoftBank Robotics, Alibaba Group and Foxconn Technology Group will collaborate to bring humanoid robots to the global market, Botox owner Allergan, has agreed to pay $2.1 billion for Kythera and its double chin eliminator treatment.


A trio of Asian tech industry giants will work together to bring Pepper, the humanoid robot, to the global market. They include SoftBank Robotics, Alibaba Group and Foxconn Technology Group. The robot, which is designed by SoftBank’s French subsidiary Aldebaran Robotics and assembled by Foxconn, can recognize human voices, interpret facial expressions and body language, and have conversations. Among the healthcare applications envisioned are companions for the elderly.

Alibaba CEO Jack Ma said in a news conference:

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“As we enter the data technology era, robotics will become a critical field that catalyzes technological breakthroughs in numerous sectors such as healthcare, public services, research and at home,” said Ma, whose Alibaba Group is about 32% owned by SoftBank.. “Our partnership with SoftBank and Foxconn combines the best hardware and software talent in the industry to pave the way for robotics research and development.”

Earlier this year a group developed an application for Pepper aimed at people with dementia, according to The Wall Street Journal.

“Ninnin Pepper” allows Pepper to urge patients to wake up and take their medicine at scheduled times, and report whether pills were consumed to a doctor through the Internet. Pepper will talk to the elderly patients on a daily basis, asking them questions about their family to stimulate memory. Conversation data can be sent and assessed by caretakers.

Allergan, the owner of the skin tightening treatment known as Botox, has agreed to pay $2.1 billion to buy another injectible cosmetic treatment. Kythera Biopharmaceuticals developed a treatment to eliminate double chins, which won FDA approval earlier this year. Some analysts think Allergan is paying too much.Bernstein analysts, for example, said Allergan “has much higher expectations than we do.”


Medical technology company Calgary Scientific released ResolutionMD 5.1, a software version that lets physicians to make better treatment decisions by providing more access to medical images and mobile information.

Researchers found a mechanism driven by fructose that can cause cardiac enlargement and failure.

A study conducted by JAMA Psychiatry shows that Tourette syndrome or tic disorders may be inherited.

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency awarded a grant up to $4.7 million and two-and-a-half years to Wyss Institute researchers. The grant is meant to allow the institute to make genetically engineered probiotics that can detect, report and fight harmful microbes in the stomach.

The team of researchers plan to create communities of the genetically engineered bacteria to help those with gastrointestinal illnesses recover faster.


Mercy is cutting up to 350 jobs, mostly in leadership roles, across its institutions in Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. It blamed states declining to expand Medicaid as one reason behind the move.

Physicians Interactive’s MedHelp partnered with Evidation Health to help improve their condition management platform.

Pharmacists are taking on a bigger role in healthcare to help bolster patient relationships.


Johns Hopkins University researchers developed the STIMband, a helmet to help Parkinson’s disease patients by using electrodes to deliver a low-level current to the motor cortex of the brain.

The FDA has cleared a connected device that helps women with urinary incontinence track their pelvic floor exercises.

Practice Fusion has rolled out a version of its electronic health record for tablets on iOS and Android networks.

Caremerge has launched a chronic care management tool designed to connect chronic care coordination with Medicare Chronic Care Management reimbursements.


A government watchdog found the Obama administration can’t account for around $3 billion in subsidies paid to insurance companies last year.

Republican congressional leaders briefed members about their response to a possible Supreme Court ruling against Obamacare.



Scientists modified yeast to transform a molecule of glucose into a chemical compound that could eventually lead to the production of opiate morphine.

The Morning Read provides a 24-hour wrap up of everything else healthcare’s innovators need to know about the business of medicine (and beyond). The author of The Read published it but all full-time MedCity News journalists contribute to its content.

Photo: Getty