Top Story, Devices & Diagnostics

Medtronic highlights evolving diabetes strategy, Astellas pairs with Swiss biotech in $760M deal (Morning Read)

Medtronic highlighted a shift in its diabetes strategy towards smaller deals in the latest quarterly earnings report.


This week Medtronic highlighted its continuing, evolving interest in diabetes technology. Chief Financial Officer Gary Ellis on a conference call pointed to some recent examples. He noted its minority stake in Glooko and its partnership with IBM Watson Health to build a new generation of personalized diabetes management tools and its acquisition of Diabeter — a Dutch diabetes clinic and research center.

Taken together, these announcements signify that we’re focused on transforming our diabetes group from a market-leading pump and sensor company into a holistic diabetes management company focused on making a real difference in outcomes and costs.”

Japanese drugmaker Astellas and a Swiss biotech startup Anokion are teaming up to launch a joint venture promising up to $760 million with an option to buy the new company. The new venture, Kanyos Bio, will focus on autoimmune disease, using technology developed by Anokion to produce treatments that break down the immune system’s response to antigens.


Rivanna Medical received FDA clearance for its device that helps physicians deliver a needle in the most accurate way during spinal anesthesia. Accuro is a smart-phone sized ultrasound system that processes and displays 3D images taken from multiple scans. The company hopes Accuro will be used for things like thyroid biopsies in the future, according to Rivenna Medical.

The Alliance of Women Entrepreneurs is launching an investment initiative, AWE Ventures, with Pennsylvania’s economic development arm. The goal is to support investment in women-led, early stage startups and emerging enterprises in life sciences, among other areas. Ben Franklin Technology Partners of Southeastern Pennsylvania will match contributions up to $250,000 to form a total contribution pool of $500,000, according to a company statement.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.


With an eye to Caitlyn Jenner’s splashy Vanity Fair cover this week, what would health insurers cover for gender reassignment surgery?

Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia has added a new role — vice president of entrepreneurship. Patrick FitzGerald will be responsible for direct investments in early-stage companies.

University of Pennsylvania researchers are doing a pilot to make imaging reports more patient-centric and accessible to patients.


Atomwise, a technology company, raised $6 million for a platform that enlists artificial intelligence and machine learning as one way to reduce the failure rate of drugs and the high cost of drug drug development.

It Swiss digital and mobile health company dacadoo, which produces a health score based on factors like the user’s activity, weight, blood pressure, mindset and diet, closed a Series A round with investments from Samsung’s venture arm and private investors from Europe and the U.S.

A look at a professional trolling farm and how it tried to ramp up fears over the Ebola virus outbreak.


Pennsylvania became the first state to come up with a backup plan if the Supreme Court overturns the ACA federal subsidy provision.

D.C. bill to expand access to birth control would allow women to receive a year of birth control at one time, drawing potential criticism from Republicans.

The Senate Finance Committee advanced a bipartisan bill to reform the Medicare appeals process and reduce the backlog.

As a remedy to address long patient wait times for VA members, the U.S. Senate may vote to give nurse practitioners in the Veterans Affairs Department the authority to practice independently of physicians, regardless of laws in individual states.  Under the provision, nurse practitioners—including midwives and mental healthcare clinical nurse specialists—could prescribe some drugs and treat patients without a supervising physician.


Even though Stephen Colbert doesn’t hit CBS until September, he’s making sure people don’t forget about him by his new video about his beard.

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: Flickr user Charlie