StartUPDATES: New Developments from Healthcare Startups

Check out news from Equiva, First In Venture Studio, and Parallel Bio.

According to recent research:

  • Medicare Advantage is now chosen by the majority of low-income and minority beneficiaries (Health Affairs)
  • Forty five percent of Medicare home health users have five or more chronic conditions, 17.3% have four, 13.8% have three, and 23.9% have between zero and two chronic conditions. Numbers are similar for Medicare Advantage. (The Research Institute for Home Care)

“The trend of healthcare moving into the home brings real opportunity to improve outcomes and reduce costs especially in areas of prevention and care management,” said Nir Altman, co-founder and CEO of Equiva. “The home is also perhaps the best place to identify and address social determinants of health. And digital equity plays a key role.”

In a recently published MedCity Influencers article, Digital Equity as a Social Determinant of Health, Smriti Kirubanandan quotes the US Department of Health and Human Services national coordinator for health information technology: “We are just now beginning to think about the digital future for healthcare, and we ought to be thinking about interactivity more than just interoperability if we want to make data exchange more dynamic and inclusive.”

Kirubanandan adds, “Healthcare systems must weave in a digital equity strategy to support patients in their use of technology, to help them understand their healthcare information and to gain access to care efficiently.”

Rooted in Equiva’s mission and reflected in the company’s name is a solid focus on health equity. Equiva’s blog highlights concepts to reduce health disparities and engage with patients at home.

Innovate North Carolina profiled the First In Venture Studio — a partnership between UNC-Chapel Hill, the Eshelman Institute for InnovationUNC Health and industry partner High Alpha Innovation, a venture builder headquartered in Indianapolis that partners with large corporations and universities.

In an interview with Innovate North Carolina, Bob Dieterle, managing director of First in Venture Studio at the Eshelman Institute for Innovation and entrepreneur-in-residence with Innovate Carolina, explained how it invests in startups:

“The venture studio investment committee will decide if it wants to launch a startup and invest up to a million dollars in pre-seed capital in these startups,” Dieterle said. “This isn’t a competition, and it’s not a winner with a prize. These are venture concepts looking to convince the investment committee that they’re worthy of investment and spun out as tangible, venture-backable startups.”

To read more, click here.

Parallel Bio, a biotech company unlocking the human body’s own power to cure disease, today unveiled $4.3 million in seed funding. The investment capital has enabled it to prove the viability of its immune-system-in-a-dish platform and accelerate the pace of drug discovery and development. The seed funding was led by Refactor Capital, with other investors including Breakout Ventures; Jeff Dean, SVP of Google AI; Y Combinator; several biotech-focused funds; and senior executives at global pharmaceutical companies.

Parallel Bio’s platform combines immune organoids with artificial intelligence and robotics to uniquely represent organoids as a population. Its platform seeks to model the immune systems of entire populations, and the only immune technology that has the needed complexity and scale to flip 95 percent failure to 95 percent success.

Juliana Hilliard, Parallel Bio co-founder and chief scientific officer said: “We have proven that our platform fully replicates human immune responses, produces antibodies against any disease target in 21 days, and can discover new immunotherapies to fight complex disease that we know will work in people from the start.”

To read more, click here.

Photo: Khanisorn Chaokla, Getty Images