#34 🍩 What the Health - MDMA & Mushrooms legalised, Microsofts BioGPT & Mr Beast cures the blind
Your health tech & innovation TL;DR roundup
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Friends friends health tech friends!
Welcome to all >3880 of you 💜 It’s good to be back. Missed you.
We got a lot to cover after 1.5 months off, so let’s get to it and not waste any time…
BUT FIRST: Hot off the press
This morning Google announced their new “chatGPT competitor”, Bard. It’s not out for the public yet but they reckon it will be soon 👀
Chat GPT & LLMs update
Lols (cause if we don’t laugh, we’ll cry at the deteriorating state of health)
🌱 Vively pivots to preventative wellbeing ft. CGMs and personalised insights, pulling in $1.5m after it hits $1m annualised rev in just 3 months
🏥 Lenexa, the patient monitoring system for pressure injuries bagged $1m
🏋️♂️ Steppen, the fitness app for Gen Z snagged USD$1.5m
🧘♀️ Frankie Health, a workplace mental health platform supporting orgs with employees' well-being and burnout, was acquired by UK-based Unmind
🏃♀️ KIC (Keep it Cleaner), the fitness empire by 2 millennial influencers looks to the UK and is testing the waters for a capital raise
🦴 CurveBeam AI, a bone fragility imaging tech company, banked $25m in an oversubscribed funding round ft Tenmile, and eyes IPO
🚀 Fingerprint for Success (F4S), an AI-based performance coaching startup, raised another $6.5m
💉 Vaxxas announced an extra $6.4m funding from CEPI (Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations) for a variety of new vaccine platforms without refrigeration
❓Are US VC’s fleeing Aus? Or maybe it’s just chilling out for a sec. But stats do show there’s a marked slowdown
🧪 NSW Gov launched a $40m biosciences fund to support startups, researchers and entrepreneurs in the field over the next four years
Guys no wonder they’re killing it - they have a 20-Year R&D Roadmap
🌶️ Robert Bates - the entrepreneur behind health and wellness businesses Aquamamma and Aurum+, is under scrutiny as things mysteriously have gone up in smoke with disappearing websites and a rumoured $15m funding from investors left without any share filings
**TLDR - a reminder on due diligence and proper process when investing folks
🍄 A surprise from the TGA’s saw MDMA and psilocybin set to become available through the Authorised Prescriber Scheme for specific uses for mental health conditions. Making Aus the first in the world, technically, to do so… WILD
🧠 Synchron published a paper in JAMA Neurology on the findings from the first 4 participants with stentrode Brain-Computer Interfaces for Severe Paralysis
🦟 Zip Diagnostics & WEHI are creating a world-first RAT-style test to expose malaria that hidden dormant in your body
📱 Mindset Health’s mobile-based hypnotherapy program for IBS saw their recent successful findings from some retrospectives studies published
🎼 Music Health partnered with Walgreens making app Vera now available through the Walgreens Find Care platform
💻 Max Kelsen and Peter Macs collab spin-out Propel is using AI to create extensive, de-identified patient data sets for medical research, and ensuring people’s privacy
🧠 CSIRO and UQ researchers have used AI to develop a world-first benchmark for measuring brain atrophy (or thinning) in neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer’s
🔮 The ICU of The Future has been unveiled at Brissy The Prince Charles Hospital
🩸 Is WearOptimo, the sensor from QLD, the real-life Theranos? Maybe…
🎁 Sharing is caring… and now the NSW and Commonwealth govs are agreeing to share Medicare and digital driver’s licence credentials in their service apps
(yes, we can’t believe this isn’t already a thing, but ok)
👷♂️ SA is set to roll out electronic medical record (EMR) systems to all regional hospitals and Health Networks in a new $31.1m project
💥 Australia’s surgery backlog is predicted to blow out to 500,000 people this year. With serious concerns about whether or not we’ll ever be able to clear it
📈 Supposedly we’re getting more Priority Primary Care Centres (PPCCs), both in Vic and the rest of Aus, ft bulk billing primary care. But feels a little TBC…
(Cause like… where are we going to find the GPs?)
Oh, Medicare reform…
Vic & NSW actually agreed on something, with that something being healthcare. And that it should be #1 priority as its “the biggest challenge facing our country”. Since then, QLD added to the cries
GPs might get boosted rebates and payments for after hours work as part of a $750m package in the May budget
TLDR: More discussions to come
US & Beyond the Borders
🚚 Amazon launched RxPass: a new $5 service for Prime members allowing them to get as many drugs as needed from a list of 50 generic medications for >80 common chronic conditions… Ft. free delivery (of course)
💊 Pfizer is supposedly offering up its entire Drug And Vaccine portfolio to 45 of the world’s poorest countries at Non-Profit prices…
👩⚖️ Microsoft is “aggressively investing in healthcare”
(But honestly, thats nothing new - maybe now it’s just more public) and chatGPT…
With a US$10bn bid to invest in Open AI
Releasing BioGPT a domain-specific generative model pre-trained on large-scale biomedical literature, which supposedly has achieved human parity, outperformed other general and scientific LLMs, and could empower biologists in various scenarios of scientific discovery.
👨🏻⚖️Digital Therapeutic Darling GoodRX is copping a $1.5 million fine for sharing users data with big tech as a “warning shot” against a growing crew of services sharing info
📺 Netflix is getting into fitness with US members now able to access >90 Nike Training Club workouts
♾️ VitaDAO, the OG longevity DAO, raised >US$4m with big pharma contributing
✅ The FDA no longer requires animal tests before human drug trials
⛅️ Google Cloud and Pharma giant, Bayer are partnering to accelerate drug development
💡Where Theranos failed - Stanford researchers seem to be succeeding…
Now supposedly measuring thousands of molecules from a single drop of blood through a new technique called “multi-omic microsampling”
🍬 Neutrogena introduced personalized 3D-printed skin health supplements
Users of their Skin360 app can apparently create ‘Skin360 SkinStacks’ using data collected via its digital self-scan skin assessment tools, allowing for the creation of personalized ‘nutrient stacks.’ The tailored gummies can then be ordered, each of which has nutrient layers designed to address a specific area of skin concern.
🚽 Your toilet might actually hold the key to your health…
With a new at-home urine analysis device, the U-Scan, which sits in your toilet, is reportedly able to analyze >3,000 metabolic biomarkers from urine,"making it one of the gold standards of health assessment”
🤖 ChatGPT & LLMs hype cycle continues…
With endless med versions popping up and every man and his dog has releasing a thought leadership piece (hey, I can’t speak 😂 ). We could go on all day, but we all have better things to do (maybe?)
Anyway, we’ll do a thing on this sometime soon, but for now here’s a quick update…
Google Research and DeepMind introduced MultiMedQA, an open-sourced large language model for medical purposes
"Combining HealthSearchQA, a new free-response dataset of medical questions sought online, with six existing open-question answering datasets covering professional medical exams, research, and consumer queries.
The model also incorporates methodology for evaluating human model responses along several axes, including factuality, precision, potential harm, and bias."
ChatGPT passed US medical school exams… on its first go
It was included as an author in some articles, and people aren’t particularly chuffed
Now, there are rumours Google’s competitor might be out within days…
Let the race begin…
Startup Stuff 🚀
Vic Health & Wellness founder?
Throw your hat in the rink to pitch at Startup Victoria's Health & Wellbeing Pitch Night! 🏆 - More here
Want to build and validate your startup idea with the best in the biz?
Join Blackbird’s Giants program to get 1:1 mentoring from leading operators and investors. And validate your startup idea with access to resources, community and mentoring - Apply 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
Do you have an idea that addresses a major health challenge? Or looking to solve an unmet medical need?
Health 10x 2023 Pre-Accelerator program by UNSW Founders and The George Institute for Global Health, is a short 4-week program that helps early-stage startups level up their ideas and products to get accelerator ready - Join their virtual info night
Are you ready to take your validated innovation to market?
NSW Health’s Commercialisation Training Programs has a heap of courses, led by industry experts and successful founders, it’ll help you drill down into just how to take your business forward and navigate your way to international markets - More here
Early stage team ready to level up and validate customer needs?
ON Prime is a free 9-week program designed to help research teams of two to five people take their projects to the next level through customer discovery activities, honing strategy and communication - More here
Solving problems in the Aged Care Space?
The ARIIA grant round 4 is open and funding for projects that will contribute to the betterment of the aged care sector through improved service delivery, adoption of technology and quality of care - Apply here
Making a medical device you’re keen to get to market?
The NSW Health Medical Devices Fund supports individuals, companies, public and private hospitals, medical research institutes, universities and the medical devices industry, to take local innovation to market - More here
Working on research or solutions for diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Indigenous populations and communities?
Check out the Targeted Translation Research Accelerator (TTRA) program's Round 3 of funding by MTPConnect and ANDHealth - More here
Melbourne-based founder looking for a boost?
The 2023 MAP Accelerator Program is now taking apps for open for its 5-month intensive accelerator program for both for-profit and impact startups - More here
SME working on an industry-led research collab to develop new tech, products or services?
Check out the Cooperative Research Centres Projects (CRC-P) Grants that provide funding for short-term research collaborations. With matched funding of between $100,000 and $3 million. Grants are for up to 3 years - More here
Tue 7th Feb: MedTech Actuator Accelerator Information Session
Wed 8th Feb: UNSW Digital Health Week Networking Event
Fri 17th Feb: HealthTech Pitch Night with Microsoft
Wed 22nd Feb: An Overview: SaMD Regulation by the TGA
16th Feb to 20th Apr: The Biointelect Venturer Program
Thu 23rd Feb: MedTech Actuator Accelerator Cohort 7 Demo Day
Tues 28th Feb: Startup Vic Health & Wellbeing Pitch Night
Mar 15th - 16th: 12th Annual Australian Healthcare Week
Consumable Content 💎
🎙️ Faces of Digital Health Podcast: Healthcare in 2033: “You can only disrupt healthcare in a non-disruptive way” (Mark Coticchia, Baptist Health)
💰 Is VC bad for healthcare? It’s a question I grapple with on the reg, and sometimes it just isn’t (always) a fit. Anyway, this is a great chain and article on it
💥 Here’s an epic list of UK-based healthtech accelerators, resources & investors etc courtesy of Founders Institute
💵 Can’t afford a doctor? Australia’s GP system is heading the way of America’s…
3 Aussie doctors at Harvard School of Public Healths opinion piece
📈 Greycroft VC reflected on the year that was and the top trends in 2022
🍩 WTH… Cause if we don’t laugh we’ll cry
And this, friends… is why we need to save our healthcare system
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Thanks to Eldin, Deena, Hannah, Rahul & Simon for sharing cool things in the private community which made it into this drop!
OMFG that was intense. Sorry.
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