StartUPDATES: New developments from healthcare startups

Check out news from Serimmune, Bind Benefits, Carrum Health and Astarte Medical.

Vector illustration - StartupSerimmune and Mymee announced this week that they will collaborate on a clinical research study to describe the role antibodies play in patients suffering from COVID-19. The partnership includes collaborating on research to understand the presence of antibodies in people with autoimmunity, including disease activity and those most at risk.

The study, which will use Serimmune’s proprietary Serum Epitope Repertoire Analysis (SERA) technology, is designed to assess individual immune responses to SARS-CoV-2 from both natural infection and vaccination, and track those responses over a five-year period. This data will help researchers better understand how variations in antibody response may influence Covid-19 symptoms from very mild to severe. More than 200 million Covid cases and 4 million deaths have been reported globally since the pandemic began in December 2019. Experts predict that up to 35% of both asymptomatic and symptomatic Covid cases will develop some form of long haul Covid.

As part of this collaboration agreement, patients participating in Mymee’s digital care programs for autoimmunity and long haul Covid will be eligible to participate. Participants in the study will receive access to their personalized antibody map, which characterizes their own unique set of antibodies to SARS-CoV-2, and will be provided with ongoing information about their immunity to the virus over time. There is no charge to participants for participating in the study.

Bind Benefits announced that its personalized health plans are now available on a fully-insured basis to Virginia employers with more than 50 employees.

Bind redesigned health insurance from the ground up to give employers the opportunity to offer a sustainable, attractive health benefit, without continuing to shift cost to employees. With Bind, people have full coverage from day one without unnecessary affordability barriers, like deductibles and coinsurance. With an intuitive digital experience, members can see cost and quality comparisons in advance of care.

“Virginia employers and employees deserve the opportunity to save money and be more satisfied with their health insurance experience. Personalized health plans do just that,” said John Chabot, mid-market sales leader for Bind.

Bind has proven when people have upfront cost certainty, they choose higher-quality care—and that makes health care more affordable overall. The impact Bind is having on its members and employer customers is significant. Bind members choose more effective, efficient care and see 52% lower medical and pharmacy out-of-pocket spend than the national average—and employers can spend up to 20% less.

Bind is not new to Virginians. Bind has members from Virginia who are on self-funded plans, offered by companies, such as Lumen, Medtronic, and more.

Carrum Health has expanded its offerings in Texas with Houston Physicians’ Hospital to give Carrum Health members access to cost-effective bundled offerings for spinal surgery and outpatient sports medicine care.

Houston Physicians’ Hospital serves communities throughout Southeast Texas at its hospital in Webster, Texas, and 15 outpatient physical therapy clinics. Its patient-focused, concierge approach ensures that patients receive the most appropriate care, whether that is surgery or, when possible, more conservative, non-surgical options for less invasive ways to address back pain and recover from sports injuries.

“At Houston Physicians’ Hospital, we pride ourselves on delivering an excellent patient experience, with a focus on providing the best and most appropriate care. We chose to partner with Carrum Health because of their shared commitment to putting patients first, reflected in their high Net Promoter Score,” said Heather Womack, CEO of Houston Physicians’ Hospital. “We look forward to bringing Carrum Health’s unique care model to businesses and their employees in the greater Houston area.”

Carrum introduces a new model that brings value-based care to surgeries with a technology-first approach to simplify how care is paid for and delivered. The Carrum Health benefit includes the industry’s first and only Centers of Excellence platform and a smartphone app that provides complete member support. Members typically never pay any medical bill in the Carrum model – no co-pays, no deductibles, no surprise bills. Instead, they’re able to focus on their health rather than fighting the healthcare system.

 Astarte Medical, a company that specializes in clinical decision support tools for the NICU, has raised $7.6 million in a Series A round. Among the investors taking part in the round are Viking Global Investors LP, Lunsford Capital, Ben Franklin Technology Partners, OCA Ventures, Next Act Fund, Capita3, Leatherneck Ventures, and Social Venture Circle. The funds will be used to scale its clinical decision support platform NICUtrition to address critical, unmet needs in the NICU like malnutrition, suboptimal growth, and racial disparities in care.

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Picture: akindo, Getty Images