Top Story

Morning Read: Deal boosts idea of drones for organ delivery, N.Y. gets statewide Parkinson’s telemedicine

Also, Humana consider dropping individual Obamacare plans, “world’s most expensive medicine” rarely used and California to raise smoking age to 21.

LAS VEGAS, NV - JANUARY 07: Attendees look at an EHang 184 autonomous-flight drone that can fly a person at CES 2016 at the Las Vegas Convention Center on January 7, 2016 in Las Vegas, Nevada. The 18-foot-long, 440-pound drone has four arms and eight propellers and can fly up to 63 mph for 23 minutes and go about 20 miles. It can carry one passenger who does not need to pilot the drone. Once a destination is entered, only a take off or land button needs to be pushed to travel. The drone takes off and lands vertically eliminating the need for a runway. CES, the world's largest annual consumer technology trade show, runs through January 9 and features 3,600 exhibitors showing off their latest products and services to more than 150,000 attendees. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Attendees at CES 2016 in Las Vegs look at an EHang 184 autonomous-flight drone that can fly a person.

TOP STORIES

We’re getting closer to the day when organs for transplant are delivered by drones. Wednesday, transplant products manufacturer  Lung Biotechnology agreed to help drone-maker EHang Holdings customize a human-sized autonomous aircraft for just that purpose.

Realizing the vision of routine organ delivery by drone still could be 15 years away, however, the companies said. — TechCrunch

University of Rochester Medical Center has launched Parkinson’s Disease Care, New York (PDCNY), a free telemedicine program for about 500 underserved Parkinson’s patients across the state. It’s meant to be a national model for remote management of chronic diseases.

Patients with iPhones will be able to participate via URMC’s mPower app and share data over Apple’s new CareKit platform. — PR Newswire

LIFE SCIENCES

The Scripps Research Institute in San Diego has spun out a new company, iGenomX, which offers library construction technology for next-generation DNA sequencing. — Business Wire

“The world’s most expensive medicine,” a gene therapy, has been used only once commercially since being approved in 2012. — Harvard Business Review

RNAi therapeutics startup Sirnaomics, of Gaithersburg, Maryland, has raised $10 million in a Series B round. — PE Hub

Insulin delivery system-maker Valeritas raised $25 million through a reverse merger and a private placement. — MassDevice

French biopharma company Poxel is planning a U.S. IPO. — Business Wire

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

Humana is the latest big insurer to consider dropping individual plans on Affordable Care Act exchanges for 2017. — Reuters

A peer-reviewed study by the CVS Health Research Institute has shown home infusion care to be as safe and effective as treatments delivered in hospitals and clinics, for far less money. — PR Newswire

A Baltimore medmal attorney said it’s time to scrap peer-review protections in the discussion of inpatient deaths. — PR Newswire

Robert Adams, CEO of eldercare company National HealthCare Corp., will retire at the end of the year. — Nashville Business Journal

TECHNOLOGY

Although Fitbit’s revenues dipped in the first quarter to $505 million from $711 million in the fourth quarter, 40 percent of sales during the quarter came from repeat Fitbit purchasers. That’s notable because wearable producers often get criticized for having a steep drop off rate for their products as consumers lose interest. — Barrons

UnitedHealth Group’s Optum has teamed with Medecision and TriZetto to introduce what the companies are calling the first SaaS option in Medicaid management information systems. — Business Wire

Staffing and consulting firm Softworld has launched Vita Data Sciences within its life-sciences practice. — PR Newswire

Garmin is the latest consumer fitness company to build activity tracking into a fashion-forward watch, and the new vívomove is analog. — Business Wire

POLITICS

Dr. Patrick Conway, deputy administrator for innovation and quality at CMS, seems open to congressional concerns about a proposed Medicare Part B value-based drug purchasing plan. — The Hill

Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) is trying again to give CMS the power to negotiate Medicare drug prices, and this time he also wants to cap out-of-pocket costs for Medicare beneficiaries. — Portland Business Journal

California is raising the smoking age to 21 and restricting public vaping. — Los Angeles Times

The highest court in the European Union has upheld a pan-European law that standardizes cigarette packaging, bans menthol smokes and imposes tough new rules on e-cigs. — Reuters

A LITTLE BIT EXTRA

American Girl keeps selling out of a diabetes care kit for its dolls. — The New York Times

Photo: Ethan Miller/Getty Images

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