#33 🍩 What the Health - The Brain-Computer Interface Race, ChatGPT & Cult Status
Your fortnightly healthtech TL;DR roundup
Hey Legends, Happy Tuesday.
Thanks to everyone who came to our EOY Shindigs in Melbourne and Sydney 💜 It was a hoot
Thanks again Aginic Ventures & Nutromics for sponsoring our epic Melbourne Shindig 💕 And Sonder for putting on a killer spread in Sydney!
In other news you don’t care about…
We officially reached “Cult Status”, at least according to OG startup Guru Alan Jones.
Not sure this exact framing is good 😂 🙃
But as a big fan girl of Tim Duggan and his book, aka the community bible, Cult Status (which I may or may not have next to me) - this is a proud milestone, and we’ll take it.
PS - I was going to write a proper reflective industry article as is compulsory in writers’ land at the end of each year, but tbh - I’m too flippin’ tired. So, I’ll do it next year.
For now - here is the last roundup of the year…
So, enjoy. And we’ll be back in Feb ✌️
🧠 Synchron, the Aussie-founded company creating brain-computer interfaces announced a fresh US$75m of funding including backing from Gates Frontier fund & Bezos Expeditions
💩BiomeBank, following their world-first reg approval for injectable faecal transplants, closed $10.7m in fresh funding to help continue scaling
💉 Vaxxas, who’re creating needle-free vaccines closed $23m for clinical development and manufacturing
⭐️ Zipline, a startup that pivoted from retail ratings to aged care compliance celebrated another $10m to further growth and maybe even hit hospitals
🧪 Microbio, QLDs pathogen detection and identification biotech closed >$3.5m for commercialisation, manufacturing, and ramp up local and international infiltration
✈️ Swoop Aero snagged $1.8m in Gov funding to build upon its operation in QLD and create the world’s largest integrated drone logistics network
🔬Microba Life Sciences snagged a new strategic investment and partnership with Sonic Healthcare - who invested $17.8m for a 19.99% stake, along with serious global distribution rights
🧫 Inventia Life Science, the 3D cell culture & 3D printing biotech, is getting has NSW gov supporting expansion ft new local manufacturing and lab facilities
💰NSW Startups Physical Sciences Fund got extended and increased to $10m per year, up from a previous $5m per year
📈Health worker resignations are just getting worse (shock) increasing almost 20% with >200 leaving per week
🏆Sleeptite nabbed winner of best ‘Digital Health & Health Tech’ innovation of the year at the “InnovationAus.com Awards for Excellence 2022”
👩🔬Mass Dynamics launched their new free Proteomics Discovery service
🧠 Seer’s Dr Pip Karoly snagged the Prime Minister's Prize for New Innovators for her research into long-term cycles of seizure likelihood and the development of Seer’s seizure risk forecasting technology
🛑 The Fed slashed the extra 10 psychologist visit rebates for Aussies seeking mental health treatment ceasing all claims from 2023
🌱Medicare is in desperate need of a revamp…
The population and healthcare have both changed fast, but Medicare stayed stuck in time without change. Meaning serious structural flaws, and strains on GPs & Hospitals.
The Grattan Institute released a new report on potential reforms - to “bring Medicare into the 21st century – and out of a mid-life crisis”
The AFR reported… My Health Record struggles to be useful for patients (shock)
Couldn’t help but laugh at this excerpt from the article 😂🥲
” Deloitte modelling estimates the health workforce will need to be four times more productive by 2050 to meet forecast demand…
Deloitte said modelling of public and private hospital bed requirements from 2016 to 2036 showed that Australia would need to build a hospital with 375 acute-care beds every month for the next 15 years to keep pace with demand and replace ageing stock.
The Deloitte report said Australia’s health system was heavily geared towards “an acute, reactive system of treating illness”. ”
⛔️ Hospitals are overloaded and turning patients away - with even the Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne advising families to seek alternative care
🇳🇿New Zealand has banned young people from buying cigarettes for life
🏗 USYD is investing $10m in a futuristic fit-out for a simulation ward ft. virtual reality (VR) and AI for training students at Westmead Hospital
🗺 Sydney Local Health District released a 5-year digital health strategy
US & Beyond the Borders
👩⚖️Theranos Ex-CEO Elizabeth Holmes was convicted of four counts of fraud with 11.25 years in prison
The judges take on it all…
“Failure is normal. But failure by fraud is not OK.”
🧬 AWS launched a new genomics data service to help bioinformaticians, researchers, and scientists store, analyze and generate insights from genomic, transcriptomic and other omics data
🚨Dozens more telehealth startups have been exposed sending sensitive health info to big tech companies
⌚️Apple Watch & h2o therapeutics are now FDA-cleared to monitor Parkinson's symptoms such as tremors and dyskinesia
🏥 Epic, the EHR giant, is shutting down its app market…
🍏 BUT is also launching an EHR version more accessible to Apple & Mac users
🫁 Philips adds another >90 deaths to its worldwide ventilator recall debacle
🤰AI looks like it might be able to predict C-Section, with researchers developing a model so far proving 87% accurate in predicting if a woman would deliver naturally or via Ceasearean
🤝VC firm General Catalyst is taking a partnership approach to bring scalable tech and innovation to health added 10 new health system partners
💡New studies on mice unpack why women are 50–75% more likely to have adverse drug reactions
🦠 CRISPR for Personalized Cancer Treatment has been used in the first human trials to recognize and attack mutated proteins specific to a person’s tumour
𐂫AN electric body suit, the Mollii suit, for those with cerebral palsy, MS and strokes has been said to be 'life-changing making movement easier and reducing pain
✅ The first trial of a personalised Cancer Vax, using messenger-RNA has supposedly successfully been completed by Moderna and MSD
🤖 Neuralink’s Ex - Co-founder, Max Hodak, emerged with a new brain-computer interface startup, Science Corp. Which instead of drilling holes in people's heads, utilises photonics to send light through a patient’s optic nerve and transmits info
For anyone who missed it… 👀
🤖 ChatGPT was released into the wild. And it’s going to put us all out of a job…
Ok, perhaps thats a tad dramatic (or is it?). But what is for sure - it’s going to change how every industry operates.
So, Wtf is it exactly?
ChatGPT is an AI-driven natural language chatbot that interacts in a “human-like” conversational way.
TLDR - A program/bot you ask things or give data points to and it basically spits back fully coherent info, content or “conversation”.
This format enables it to answer questions you give it, help you with tasks (ie think write emails, plans, essays and even code), create plans and even learn as it goes.
Here’s an example of a “task” I gave it, asking it to write an intro for the newsletter, which it knew nothing about. It generated this in `7 seconds 😂
Released Nov 30th by Open.ai, it hit >1 million users in less than 7 days 🤯
It’s currently free and open to everyone as it goes through its “research phase”, to learn, iterate and improve. But even though it’s far from perfect, it’s scary good for a first release.
So, what does it mean? And What will it do?
We can’t exactly be sure - yet.
Or more, in what exact time frame it will play out. But, it will likely overhaul search and documentation. And change the value of general knowledge, how its distributed, accessed, and seriously affect almost everyone. Making many facets of jobs easier, or redundant.
AI in health and the hype around it is nothing new. It’s already being used in radiology (hey harrison.ai), pathology and IVF - but that’s just the beginning.
The potential for AI—driven language bots, writers and search for things like creating medical records, reducing unnecessary labour-intensive admin, and quickly finding differential diagnoses, steps to procedures, and resources are huge. Hopefully leaving space for more “human essential”, problem-solving, contextual and creative work.
Not to mention the possibilities for recognising patterns in datasets, expediting research, writing processes, coding, and even personalised care plans.
With all great innovations come with it endless new problems, risks and biases. And the need for appropriate context and training.
But sure will be interesting to see how this will change the game this next decade.
“AI won’t replace doctors or health professionals, but it will replace those who don’t learn to work with it” ~ Jarrel Seah, Harrison.ai
Startup Stuff 🚀
Early-stage digital health startup with the US as a target?
Check out MDisrupt and Menlo Ventures’s Digital Health Founder’s Fellowship on the mission to help digital health companies accelerate their path to market and scale their businesses through expertise, access, and mentorship - More here
NSW-based Startup or Scaleup looking to fuel your growth?
The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) grant program got a revamp and expansion, with up to $200k available per company, widened eligibility criteria and a supposedly easier app process - More here
Keen to learn about Startup investing and get your Angel Wings?
Airtree’s Explorers Program to learn about angel investing ft an epic network is now taking apps for its next cohort - More here
Keen to help solve NSW Gov’s biggest challenges?
Round 2 of the NSW Small Business Innovation & Research Program (SBIR) is open. And aims to assist challenge peeps to identify solutions, assess technology feasibility and pilot, trial and demonstrate the solution to develop a commercial product ft 100k - $1m funding. And the potential to be procured - More info here
Want to know how your company stacks up to what VCs expect
Check out a16z’s newly released Guide to growth metrics - Full thing here
Women in Digital Health? And keen to level up in Leadership?
Apps for the 2023 Women in Digital Health (WiDH) Leadership program are now open. The 6-month program is designed to enable women to realise and develop their leadership potential to advance the capability of organisations to achieve healthier lives, digitally enabled - Apply here
Just chill and take a break ey
Consumable Content 💎
🦋 What Does a Good Health-Care System Look Like? Isn’t that THE question…
This epic piece from the Atlantic delves into it with readers sharing insights from the U.S., U.K., Canada, and Australia
💥 Apparently, we’re combining science, biomarkers and the growing wellness movement and calling it “A new Industry”…“Evidence-Based Wellness”
💡 Consumer Health might be getting a bad wrap of late, but we’re still bullish
And so is a16z… Read this piece on Consumer Health: Areas of Opportunity
💊 What’s hype, what’s hot and what’s not when it comes to AI and designing drugs?
a16z GP Vineeta Agarwala on the promise—and limits—of AI in drug discovery
✍️I have a career crush on Christina Farr, an investor at OMERS Ventures and ex-journalist If you do too - check out this epic interview here Exploring digital health with a journalist turned investor
🤝 Venture Capital Firms Are Partnering With Healthcare Organizations To Improve Digital Health…YAY!
You go glen coco. This makes total sense and will straight up help create better products, businesses, routes to scalability, and hopefully, health outcomes
💻 a16z Bio Eats World: Bio x Games: Is a Fun, Therapeutic Game Possible?
📊 A GSR Ventures survey showed Digital health investments will rely on ROI and clinical validation in 2023…
Like cool, but begs the question - what on earth were they assessing it on before?
📚 The FDA has published an overview of the key benefits and risks of emerging AR & VR as medical devices and in healthcare settings
Thoughts? Did we miss something? Just want to say hey?
Hit reply 💌 I’d love to hear from you!
🐦 Find me on the Twitters
💬 Holler on Linkedin
Thanks to Roy, Leif, Paz, Zach & Brian for sharing cool things in the community which made it into this drop!
Have a great last pre-Xmas week lovers
With thanks to our partners 💜
New here? Welcome friend! Want to join >3600 legends getting the latest happenings, rants and bants in health tech and innovation? Smash subscribe 😊