Posts Tagged IoT

Changing World of Medtech Investors (includes Software, Big Data, Mobile, Biotech & more) – 2015 WSGR Conference


While there has been a decline in traditional medtech investments, non-traditional investors are investing in new and emerging areas, in medtech.  Software and IoT investors are interested in containing hospital costs and increasing operational efficiency in healthcare institutions.  Biotech investors are interested in alternative therapies, and internet investors are looking at ways to change the way devices are sold and big data investors are looking at opportunities to contain disease outbreaks and better manage large disease populations.  International investors are tapping US expertise to build medtech businesses at home.

A panel at WSGR 2015 Medical Device Conference, moderated by Uday Kumar, Founder and CEO at Element Science Inc., addressed the changing world of medtech investors.  Joining Kumar on the panel were Tom Rodgers, SVP & Managing Director at McKesson Ventures; Andrew Atwell, Principal at Global Innovation Center, Strategic Investments Group; Asha Nayak, Global Medical Director at Intel Corporation; and Conrad Wang, Senior Director of Corporate Development at Medtronic.  Below are some highlights from very interesting panel discussion on changing face of medtech investment.

According to Wang, Medtronic vision is to be a collaborative solution provider in healthcare, with a specific focus on new therapies and geographic diversity of emerging markets.  His advice to entrepreneurs, “focus on how your solutions can create value”.  Instead of being enamored by a technological enhancement, entrepreneurs should keep in mind the impact that the new breakthrough may have on the stakeholders in the healthcare delivery chain. Due to a combination of factors, chronic conditions are increasing globally.  Medtronic looks for opportunities that would enable healthcare providers from engaging in episodic care of chronic diseases to providing continuous care.

Atwell said there are numerous opportunities in the Big Data space, particularly in consumer generated data.  “Our main driver of revenue are mobile devices”, said Atwell.  There are also many challenges.  For instance, it is challenging to get accurate data and see meaningful trends.  It is also a challenge to understand early on how large the market might be and how quickly adoption may happen.  Atwell said his group invests in early and seed stage to A and B rounds and typically invest from $250K to $3M, in any given opportunity.  “We focus on building collaboration among experts from data analytics, health IT, and workflow efficiency”, said Atwell.  He further observed, “additionally, we also look at behavior change space since there is so much access to individuals through their mobile devices”.  Even if they may not help exert deep influence and impact in changing behaviors, mobile devices can exert significant influence over much larger population and can be an effective behavior change tool, said Atwell.

According to Nayak, Intel approach is to provide a piece of healthcare solution that fits in enhancement of health and quality of life, while keeping in mind TCO or total cost of ownership, in healthcare.  Her advice to entrepreneurs, “you should know if you are able to provide a piece that will fit in total solution, even if that may be a few years later”.  From consumer devices, typically wearables, an entrepreneur should be able to harness value in a trustworthy manner.  There are some key questions that an entrepreneurs must ask. 1) Is the data trustworthy, not just in accuracy, but can it be consistently used by the right person?  2) With wearables, one needs to add unequivocal value and discern it from gobs of data.  3) An entrepreneur must consider how it will fit into the current workflow without adding more time to the system.  Entrepreneurs often don’t get this piece, said Nayak.  4) Security of data is critical.  Anytime data needs to be securitized, any time data moves, Intel makes money on it, said Nayak.  5) How is the cost and care impacted through wearables.  Nayak said, Intel is interested in building ecosystems and platforms around the notion of building long term improvement in healthcare, at lesser cost.  Intel invests in all stages from seed to commercialization.   “My group is interested in partnership, and all of our investment is strategic”, said Nayak.  Many areas of interest include, telemedicine, patient management of telemedicine, management of chronic and acute care and also precision medicine, genomics, and analytics that can extract data, said Nayak.

According to Rodgers now the focus is on whether or not an entrepreneur can you navigate the carpteted area of hospitals and provide actual solution that makes a difference.  His advice to startups is to position devices as service.  Device can also be a powerful tool to capture data to ultimately keep people healthy, said Rodgers.  However, average provider does not have the time or the training to deal with the deluge of data.  In order for the data to become actionable, we may need a whole layer sitting in between the patient and the provider, monitoring the datasets, observed Rodgers.  He also advised that entrepreneurs may focus on emerging growth areas and shift to models that enable direct consume care.  We focus on strategic areas, not tactical, said Rodgers.

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Disruptive Innovation on Boundaries of Disciplines – TiEcon tracks & Discount Code


Are you still playing inside the boundaries of disciplines?  Play on the boundaries, instead.  There are huge opportunities for entrepreneurship and innovation on the boundaries of disciplines.  All industries are impacted and transformed by the increasing interconnectedness with technological advances in IoT, Big Data, Cloud Computing, Machine Learning and more.  This transformation is most apparent in  heavily regulated and somewhat slower to change industries like, “Oil and Gas” and “Healthcare”.  Any industry that worked in a silo before is likely to leap forward into the new age.   These areas are likely to experience most disruptive innovation and are  brimming with opportunities for entrepreneurs thinking outside the discipline boundaries.

Oil & Gas industry is on the verge of major transformation.  Entrepreneurs with industry specific innovations to enhance operational efficiency and minimize negative environmental impact, will score big.  Most recent environmental concerns have been around the impact of fracking or hydraulic fracturing, a process by which water and sand mixture is pumped deep below the earth’s surface, into earth’s dense shale rock formations.  Fracking produces many long narrow fractures in the rock formation and helps convert organic matter embedded within the rock to synthetic oil and gas.  It has vastly improved oil production.  It is estimated that what can be produced by a vertical well in 30 to 35 years, can be done in a horizontal well, in as short a span as 6 months.  However, recent studies indicate that fracking has led to an increase in seismic activity.  Thus far the activity was minimal but it has now been growing in both strength and number, with increase in fracking.  Many Oil and Gas companies have established innovation centers in Silicon Valley to assess and garner technological help to expedite learning about environmental impact and explore if technology might help intervene to minimize negative impact, in addition to enhancing operational efficiency. 

Healhcare has also emerged as the most attractive area, pulling in major investment dollars.  Internet of things, for instance, will help bring in focus, the prospect of connected health.  As increasingly incentives are tied to preventative medicine, providers will look for opportunities for seamless, integrated care.   Cloud and big data will enhance the possibility to learn from collective knowledge, access wisdom of the crowd, and enhance quality of health with lesser investment of resources.  Big pharmaceutical companies and biotech will look to utilizing technology in bringing therapies to market, with minimal wastage of resources and dollars.  Opportunities exist to transform the process of drug development http://bit.ly/1xzpdFx& http://bit.ly/14pkhRO , to digital health advances enabling early identification and treatment of diseases http://bit.ly/11MlM9e , to even better monitoring of medical adherence.  While reimbursement is increasingly emerging as a major challenge, insurance providers will look for disruptive, and long term, cost saving innovations.

TiEcon 2015, largest entrepreneurship conference, taking place at Santa Clara Convention Center on May 15 and 16, will feature these new tracks on healthcare http://bit.ly/1OOCV9Z and oil and gas http://bit.ly/1HqQkoc, in addition to featuring companies and speakers making waves in Data Economy, Internet of Things, and Cloud Security tracks.

Register for TiEcon and come and play on the boundaries of disciplines; jump from track to track, network with multi-track participants, angels, VCs, and learn and get inspired.  TiEcon will take place at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA on May 15 and 16.  Register through this link  https://www.123signup.com/register?id=ygszb&ref=4182698 to get a $100 discount on the two-day conference at the non-member rate.  When prompted, enter the promo code VOL500 at checkout.

PS –  I am looking to fill a number of full time and contract engineering opportunities in mechanical, quality, software, electrical, firmware engineering in CA & TX.  Details are posted in JOBS category at www.darshanavnadkarni.wordpress.com .   Some of my full time opportunities are very exciting with a huge potential upside and truly disruptive technology.  Resumes can be sent to wd_darshana at hotmail dot com

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Innovation underway in “Oil & Gas” – TiEcon 2015 track & keynote preview


Plate-forme pétrolière Oil platform from NASA ...

Plate-forme pétrolière Oil platform from NASA JPL. The Arguello Inc. Harvest Oil Platform is located about 10 km off the coast of central California near Point Conception. http://www-aviso.cnes.fr:8090/HTML/information/publication/news/news8/haines_uk.html catégorie:énergie fossile (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Oil and gas industry may have been in the headlines for occasional security glitches or even plant explosions.  But what is often not mentioned, is a quite transformation happening inside the industry, to improve daily operations and safety.  The technology adoption rate may be slower in this industry, due to sensitivity around safeguarding of trade secrets, IP issues, and data security concerns.  But there is an increasing recognition of the need for enhanced operational excellence, in this industry, concerned with confining costs and refining margins.

The unconventional and controversial practice of horizontal drilling combined with hydraulic fracturing (converting organic matter within the rock to synthetic oil and gas), have been recent game changers.  Apparently what can be produced by a vertical well in 30 to 35 years, can be done in a horizontal well,  in a span of mere 6 months, environmental concerns notwithstanding.

There is now a thirst for innovative ideas within the industry, to minimize negative environmental impact, increase safety, contain costs, and enhance operational efficiency.   Many oil and gas service centers have opened innovation centers in Silicon Valley to enhance implementation of new ideas.  With the help of emerging technologies in visualization and complexity management, and with advances in cloud computing, big data analytics and Internet of Things, the industry is poised to transform itself for the better.

Neal Dikeman, Senior Venture Principal at Shell Technology Ventures, the corporate venture capital arm of Royal Dutch Shell, will give a keynote address at TiEcon, 2015.  Join in discussions and learn how startups and large players are partnering to disrupt the current practices in Oil and Gas industry.  Register at https://www.123signup.com/register?id=ygszb&ref=4182698 to get a $100 discount on the two-day conference at the non-member rate.  When prompted, enter the promo code VOL500 at checkout:

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Health Information Technology (HIT) – Hype or Promise of a Better Healthcare System?


Salim Kizaraly, Founder & SVP of Business Development at Stella Technology, a healthcare information technology start-up, talked about the promise of  Health Information Technology in solving care coordination, physician collaboration, and system integration challenges to improve healthcare, at a recent http://www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Kizaraly began by sharing the known fact that the mounting and huge healthcare costs in the US, that do not result in significant improvement in health, are not sustainable.  According to some estimates, almost 18.3% of GDP in the US, goes towards healthcare expenditure.  If the cost of healthcare continues to rise at historical rates, the share of GDP going towards healthcare in the US, is projected to reach 34%, by 2040.  While the costs continue to rise, gains on health improvement do not keep pace.  For instance, life expectancy in the US is only 78.4 years and US ranks 27th out of 34 industrialized nations.  In this study of industrialized nations, US had highest to near highest infant mortality rates.

Kizaraly discussed the three defining historical events that got the ball rolling on healthcare transformation.  In 2004, President Bush announced that in the next 10 years, by 2014, every American would have an access to electronic health records. We have a long way to go, but certainly we are moving in that direction.  In 2009, HITECH (Health Information Technology for Economic & Clinical Health) Act, enacted as part of the ARRA (American Recovery & Reinvestment) Act, was signed into law, to promote the adoption and meaningful use of HIT and included incentives for faster adoption of EMR (Electronic Medical Records).  In 2010, the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, with its mandate to expand coverage, cemented the case regarding the need towards transformation.

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection an...

Barack Obama signing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the White House (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Affordable Care Act’s most significant contribution is to creating ACOs or Accountable Care Organizations.  An ACO can be defined “as a set of health care providers, including primary care physicians, specialists, and hospitals that work together collaboratively and accept collective accountability for the cost and quality of care delivered to a population of patients”. There are incentives to keep patients out of the extreme settings of care, including hospitals and nursing homes.  Different models are emerging of how these organizations put this into practice.  Underlying issue is that hospitals have to get better at treating patients.  Hospitals are bracing for lower revenues as they get better at keeping patients out of hospitals.  Different models of care are emerging.  Technology will be a big enabler to change workflow, rethink care, as homes emerge as places of care.  Here is link to my article on Keynote by Dr. Toby Cosgrove, CEO of Cleveland Clinic, at 2014 J P Morgan Healthcare Conference in San Francisco –http://bit.ly/1c3EyBB .  Cosgrove also said, that hospitals will not longer be epicenters of care, and while a few hospitals (e.g Cleveland Clinic) will be super high tech, they will partner and share resources with other care providers, to offset costs.  The disruptions will eventually enable us to “build a healthcare system that is humane, high quality, and sustainable”, said Cosgrove.

Kizraly discussed several national initiatives that are implemented or partially implemented to enhance collaboration among care providers and integration of information.  For instance, if a person experiences an emergency visiting New York, then eHealth Exchange will make it easy to get their health records from the state of their residence. Similarly, Blue Button makes it easy for Americans to get easy, secure, online access to their health records, with a single click.

Stella Technology is a self-funded health information technology services and product development company that focuses on care coordination, patient access, and information exchange projects.  Kizraly shared use cases and information on how Stella is helping providers, with great success, in integrating care.  Through aggregating data from a variety of sources, through identifying gaps in care, and with real-time, proactive analytics, Stella’s technology identifies care opportunities that can be improved and accordingly targets interventions.  In the long term these kinds of strategic technological interventions will enable care providers to curtail expenditure, while improving care. In the interim, we still have a long way to go and there are many opportunities for entrepreneurs to use technological advancements in big data, cloud, machine learning, (IOT) internet of things, and enable US healthcare system to become more efficient, with lower costs and improved outcomes.  Kizraly’s talk was followed by Q&A.

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Point-of-care Solution to Minimize Prescription Filling & Medication Dispensing Errors


Dr. Alan Jacobs, Founder and CEO of PerceptiMed talked about “preventing drug-related patient injury and death with advanced, cost-effective technology systems”, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.

Medication dispensing error occurs when there is a discrepancy between a prescription and the medicine that the patient receives.  It can occur in pharmacies, hospitals, or nursing homes.  Such errors can occur at any stage during the long chain of events that transpire between the prescription that the pharmacy receives and the medication that the patient receives.  A prescription may be read incorrectly, transcribed incorrectly, dispensed erroneously or delivered to the wrong patient.

Pharmacies dispense enormous volumes of medications.  So, relatively low volumes of dispensing errors, in proportion to the medications dispensed, translate into huge numbers of erroneous medications that the patients receive, with serious consequences.  For instance, do you know that each year in the US, there occur almost 345 million medication dispensing errorsThese errors lead to 1.5 million patient injuries and staggering 7,000 deaths, each year.  Additionally, such mistakes are very costly.  These preventable medication errors cost $21 billion in wasteful healthcare spending, each year.

Pills (white rabbit)

Pills (white rabbit) (Photo credit: erix!)

Medical dispensing system is a complex system.  Often prescriptions are filled by technicians or others representing low skilled workforce.  After the prescription is received at the pharmacy, and the patient profile is made, the pharmacist or the technician enters the prescription in the computer.  The technician then goes to the stock room, counts out the number of pills and fills in the medicine container, and appropriately labels it.  The pharmacist makes one last check, reviews the completed order, verifies drug name, strength, dosing directions, and then visually inspects the pills.  Finally, after verification that the prescription is filled for the correct patient, the medicine is dispensed.

Prescription filling errors can occur at any stage, in the process.  There are currently 10,000+ pills on the market.  About 2633 pills are white and round, 718 are yellow in color.  Despite the fact that following FDA ruling, every pill is marked with a special insignia, given the volume of similar looking pills, this is an error waiting to happen.  Typically, in a busy pharmacy, a pharmacist may fill out 200-300 prescriptions, a day.

PreceptiMed offers a breakthrough point-of-care product, IdentRX that provides real-time identification of individual pills and checks each pill against the patient’s prescription.  This solution is built upon state of the art pill identification algorithms and machine learning technology that enables the system to learn about each new pill that is introduced.  There is 100% identification of each individual pill as it is dispensed into the pill bottle.  The optical sensor reads 120 pills a minute.  Its error detection rate is 99.9% and it requires no calibration or modification of pill or any other special packaging.  This automatic, pour and go, first in class system correctly verifies all parameters, and checks for correct medication against patient information, dosage, and quantity.  It flags when there is an error the first time, unlike mechanical errors that go undetected for long periods and get further compounded.  Built in safe guard eliminates cross-contamination with sensitive products.

PerceptiMed has a broad IP and various other products for other uses in nursing homes and so on.  This point-of-care dispensing system does not require FDA approval.    Currently, almost 25% of the technician’s time is spent on making a mistake or correcting the mistake, as restocking of erroneous products is also a complicated process, further raising the possibility of errors.  PerceptiMed system makes it easy to restock erroneous products, saving enormous amount of time.  Additional products are in the pipeline.  For instance, Scrip Clip is a simple clip with a sensor that goes on top of the pill envelope and when the patient info is entered in the system, it lights up, allowing for easy pick up from all medications waiting to be picked up.  Also it makes it easy to restock the medications that are not picked up.  There are other fail safe products for use in nursing homes (for instance, eMAR), to ensure right medication, at correct dosage and time is given to the patient, and the date is entered immediately, to avoid overdosing.

This was a very interesting talk that included several videos that demonstrated the products.  The talk was followed by Q&A.
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Upcoming Healthcare events in Bay Area

http://www.bio2devicegroup.org features top notch speakers and many events are completely free.

Healthtechnology Forum conference http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.

www.tiecon.org – If you are a professional  in #healthIT, #digital health,  #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It offers a fabulous opportunity to network with 3000+ professionals and listen to top notch speakers and panelists.  You can register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa ClaraConvention Center) at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.

http://www.wsgr.com/news/medicaldevice/ – #WilsonSonsini, #WSGR annual medical device conference in San Francisco, June, 12.

JOBS: are posted at the link http://bit.ly/1o85CTM

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Rakeysh Mehra, famed Bollywood Filmmaker will speak at TiEcon 2014


Rakeysh Mehra, highly acclaimed Bollywood Filmmaker & Screenwriter, will speak at TiEcon 2014.  Have you registered?  You can register as my guest through the link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw and enter code “TiEvalue” to get $100 off.

The process of filmmaking begins with a great story and then the filmmaker or the producer needs to work with the screenwriter to develop the story or screenplay they have just purchased.  Rakeysh Mehra is an Indian filmmaker and screenwriter, known for writing and directing such films as Rang De Basanti (he won Best Director Filmfare Award for it in 2006) and directing blockbuster “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, starring Farhan Akhtar as Milkha Singh, India’s legendary runner (here’s link to my review  http://bit.ly/1cUwG4o).  “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag” acquired international fame and was nominated for 10 awards. Obtaining the right script and developing it into a good screenplay and then directing it into a successful film, is a highly challenging process, in the cut throat film world.  One needs to understand and develop the characters, ensure the dialogues are not lame, understand the story structure, identify the genre or the blend of genres and Mehra is brilliant, with each of the steps of filmmaking.

Delhi 6 Premiere

Delhi 6 Premiere (Photo credit: muckster)

Currently, India, the largest democracy in the world, is busy with the process of deciding its new leader.  Voting is in full swing, in India.  Mehra has been a critic of the vote bank politics and currently he is campaigning to introduce e-voting to facilitate voting by travelers.  Mehra is also deeply committed to children and the education system in India.  Regarding “Bhaag Milkha Baag”, Mehra said that to see the movie connect with children as young as six and eight, was the biggest part of his success with the movie that he is proud of.  He has criticized marks-driven, education system in India saying that it emphasizes test scores over actual learning and achievement.  Perhaps his next movie will address this issue?  The filmmaker was location hunting recently in Jodhpur, for his upcoming film.  Will there be announcements?  Mehra will give keynote address on the morning of day 2 of the conference.

See discount codes to register for TiEcon 2014, www.tiecon.org and for Health Technology Forum

www.tiecon.org – If you are a professional  in #healthIT, #digital health,  #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, then this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It offers a fabulous opportunity to network with 3000+ professionals and listen to top notch speakers and panelists.  Register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa ClaraConvention Center) as my guest, at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw  & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.

Healthtechnology Forum conference http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.  Also check out & participate in code-a-thon on patient engagement, for May 8.  Over 20K+ in prizes.

JOBS: are posted at the link http://bit.ly/1o85CTM

 

 

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Fiona Ma (Assemblywoman & Campaigner against Hepatitis B) to speak at Health Technology Forum Conference


Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B Virus (Photo credit: AJC1)

Hepatitis B (HBV) virus is a very common virus worldwide.   Approximately, 1.2 million people in the United States are affected by this virus.  Almost 350 million people worldwide, are living with Hepatitis B.  Many people with Hepatitis B are likely to be infected at birth or in early childhood, and due to lack of immediate attention, have developed a lifelong chronic infection.   Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that is commonly spread through blood, semen, or other body fluids.  Most people do not experience symptoms until it is too late.  The virus causes 80% of all liver cancers, if left untreated.  Hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination.  And with immediate attention and monitoring with nutrition, fluids, and medical supervision, acute Hep B can also be effectively treated.

Fiona Ma, incumbent democratic candidate for State Board of Equalization, a reputed politician and a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California State Assembly, is a tireless campaigner and spokesperson for “San Francisco Hepatitis B Free” campaign.  San Francisco has the highest concentration of Hep B in the country.  Ma herself learned that she had Hep B, when she was 22.  She acquired it from her mother, who had acquired it from her mother.  About 1 in every 10 Asian Americans, is infected with the virus.  Ma’s mother had developed liver scars and having caught that early, had it removed.

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiona Ma will be giving keynote address at Health Technology Innovation Forum annual conference on May, 20 at Parc 55, Wyndham Hotel, SF.  The conference is focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health through various means including “best practices for globally underserved”, through “gamification” and “patient engagement”, and through “building resilient communities for better outcomes”.  Traditionally, this conference is heavily attended by physicians from UCSF, as well as entrepreneurs focused on healthcare breakthroughs.  Please register for the conference at http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com , as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.

 

Please note other upcoming events below – dates & deadlines.

1) Register for #TiEcon at link https://www.123signup.com/register?id=dbnfb&ref=4182698  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount. If you are an entrepreneur, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss.  Check out great agenda, top notch speakers & panelists on #IoT, #bigdata, #cloud, and #Healthcare tracks at http://www.tiecon.org.

3) Feel free to send me an email for any of these events at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com and you can follow my updates on Twitter @DarshanaN.  Also, do check out (in JOBS category on this blog), my job opportunities that include many Quality Engineering jobs in CA and MA and hot Software Embedded Engineer job and more.

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OncoProtein based Program for Early Detection of HPV induced Cervical Cancers  


Dr Johannes Schweizer, VP of R&D at Arbor Vita Corporation talked about Arbor Vita’s proprietary OncoE6™ Cervical Test that Predicts Development of Cervical Cancer at www.bio2devicegroup.org event.  Information on 3 great upcoming conferences EPPIC, TiEcon, and HealthTechForum with great speakers on healthcare tracks, is posted at the end of the article.

Arbor Vita was found by Dr. Peter Lu, in 1998 with an aim to apply discoveries of the role of PDZ proteins to the development of novel therapeutics and diagnostics.  Numerous pathogens have been found to cause diseases by binding to a PDZ protein and thereby disrupting normal cell signaling.  The ability to regulate PDZ/PL interactions represents new opportunities in controlling multiple signaling cascades in complex diseases and have recently been a focus for human drug targets.  Arbor Vita has identified nearly all of the PDZ domains in the human proteome and has decoded most of them.  Arbor Vita’s platform technology is targeted towards several diseases.  Its stroke treatment asset was recently sold to NoNO, Inc.  Avian flu Dx is the first FDA cleared rapid Dx test.  At this event, Dr Schweizer discussed Arbor Vita’s diagnostic and treatment technology for HPV induced cancers.

Cervical cancer is a leading cause of mortality, worldwide.  HPV induced cancers are transmitted through sexual contact and kill over 275,000 women, every year.  These do not receive as much attention because the mortality rates are lower in the US and other developed countries.  But mortality from slow progressive cervical cancers peak in developing countries.  In India for instance, every 7 minutes, a woman dies from this disease.  The current mode of detection is through pap smears, which have poor sensitivity and poor specificity.  In the US, out of 100,000 women tested, 23,000 are likely to be hr-HPV positive.  But from these, only 6 women are likely to have cancer.  This indicates that the current screening methods are sensitive but are not sufficiently specific to detect pre-cancerous and cancerous activity and low specificity leads to over treatment.  Pap tests give about 20% false positive and false negative results.  The only reason it still work is because of the frequency of testing in the case of this very slow moving cancer, said Schweizer.  Also pap tests require lot of infrastructure and set up that is often not easily available in developing regions.

Arbor Vita’s OncoE6TM Test is the only test that specifically identifies the viral E6 oncoprotein that causes cervical cancer.  And it is simple to administer with specimen captured with a polyester tipped cervical swab, which can also be captured by the woman on her own as well.  Elevated E6 oncoprotein correlates to cancerous activity and development of high-affinity anti E6 mAb is a key to feasibility.  There are 15 HPV types that cause cancer.  Among these, HPV 16 and HPV 18 are leading causes of cervical cancers, worldwide.  This test is specific to these two viruses.  Further this test is robust and lends to easy storage at ambient temperature.  The entire process from sample collection to getting the results can be completed in 2.5 hours.

Schweizer shared some of the data from its clinical trials.  The data indicates that in a head to head comparison with OncoE6TM, the DNA test results in nine fold over treatment including colposcopies and biopsies.   OncoE6 Cervical Test on the other hand, has high specificity for women with high grade disease cancers.  OncoE6 Cervical Test efficiently identifies women in need of clinical follow-up, among the many more with clinically irrelevant HPV infections.  In a one year follow up, E6TM promised to be a solid predictive marker as high specificity and high PPV are keys to lower referral rates and clinical follow-up.  This was very interesting talk and was followed by Q&A.

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Please see below information on some excellent conferences and events coming up in the Bay Area, in next couple of months.

March 29, 2014 (day after tomorrow) EPPIC (www.eppicglobal.org) is hosting annual conference at SF, Westin.  Panels include Neglected & Rare Diseases – http://bit.ly/1c1vvTR, Innovations in clinical Development of Novel Agents, Point of Care gold rush and there will be speed pitch and SIG networking opportunities.  Promises to be a great conference.

May 16, 17, 2014 TiE SV (www.tiesv.org) will host TiEcon (www.tiecon.org) , the largest entrepreneurship conference.  This year it will feature #healthcare track with focus on Disruptive Technologies in Healthcare.

May 20, 2014 HealthTech Forum (www.healthtechnologyforum.com) will host annual conference around the theme “Pathways to Sustainable Health” at Parc 55 Wyndham, SF and will feature excellent panels and speakers on Medical Research in the Cloud, Patient Engagement in Behavioral Health, Improving Health in Global Underserved Communities and more.

www.bio2devicegroup.org meets every Tuesday and next Tuesday Dr. Russell Pachynski, co-founder, CombImmune, will talk about “Novel approaches to Immune Therapy and Monitoring”.

Check out new job opportunities 1) Embedded Software Engineer – Mountain View, CA 2) Quality manager – Mt Laurel, NJ – http://bit.ly/P1H0QK

 

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Enabling Physician Adoption of new Medical Technologies


Dr. Akhil Saklecha, General Partner at Artiman Ventures talked about understanding the challenges of physician adoption of new technologies and discussed ways of overcoming resistance and enable adoption of new medical and heatlhcare technologies by physicians, at www.bio2devicegroup.org event. (See below, at the end of the article, more info on bio2devicegroup, EPPICon, TiEcon, & HTF conf.)

Entrepreneurs in the health technology sector, must first understand physicians, the environment they work in, and the nature of the work flow.  Physicians have to be patient advocates, they often control the purse strings and make decisions on allocation of scare resources, and there is a potential to impact their adoption of new technologies by exercising influence upon them.  Physicians generally have competitive, type A personalities and they do not want to lag behind in adoption of useful technologies, said Saklecha.

So what are drivers for adoption of new technologies?  Technologies that solve problems that drive doctors crazy, get their attention.  Entrepreneurs with “must have” technology, will find it easier to get it adopted.  Entrepreneurs must focus on solving their problems, said Saklecha.  In addition to understanding physician’s work challenges, it is also important to understand every single stakeholder, in the healthcare setting.  For instance, Saklecha said he has seen some GI tools that solve a smaller problem but take up additional time of the scrub technician, general nurse, and GI nurse.  All this would add to the expenses and if the technology does not offset the cost, it will be rejected.  In fact, there is an early shift towards disposable colonoscopy devices because it saves set up and clean up time.

When it comes to money, “ignore it at your own peril”, said Saklecha.  His advice was that entrepreneurs must map out the flow of money, very early on.  They should get an understanding of where the revenue is generated and who makes the money and who loses the money.  Given the tremendous pressure to save costs, it is extremely important that new technology does not add costs to the system, unless it is a huge value add in terms of quality of health.  Entrepreneurs must know the flow of the money, direct and indirect costs and savings and they should understand CPT codes and reimbursement rules.  Obtaining CPT code does not necessarily translate into reimbursement, warned Saklecha.

Entrepreneurs must focus on enhancing quality and patient safety, said Saklecha.  Quality drives revenues and safety keeps patients alive and providers’ revenues are increasingly tied to performance.  A thorough understanding of work flow and how it impacts all various service providers including nurses, physicians, clerks etc. is very important.

One of the valuable advice Saklecha gave was with regard to timing and specific point of insertion of new technology.  Find a point of least friction for insertion of new techology, said Saklecha.  With regards to timing, it is important to keep in mind that no benefits will be seen during the first month, and instead there may be adverse effects.  Most inefficiencies will dissipate in the following 3-6 months and only then will the benefits begin to appear.  So this may be a time to keenly observe and understand the impact and every little nuance of the new technology on the work flow.  In the past decade, electronic medical records or EMR has been all the rage.  However, data entry and management takes physicians’ time away from patient care.  This is a challenge that is not yet effectively tackled, said Saklecha.   Voice recognition and scribes are used but the both have challenges of cost and errors.

Saklecha gave examples of several medical technologies and how they overcame physician adoption challenge by solving their key pressure point.  For instance, iRhythm cardiac monitoring device allows for remote monitoring of minimally “at risk” patients and it enables ER doctors to read the data and generate revenues.  Insurance companies also like it because instead of sending the patients over for hospital stays, they can be sent home and patients enjoy the convenience.  Minimally invasive blood test offered by Cardio Dx replaces cardiac stress test and it was a great improvement in saving costs.  The company directly marketed it to primary care physicians.  However, they misjudged and found that these doctors were slow to adopt because they were looking for validation from the cardiologists.  That was an important lesson in physician adoption of new technologies.  Now the company has pivoted and changed their marketing strategy and they are finding traction.

Another example is GI Dynamics which has a medical device that targets obesity.  Bariatric surgery is complex and there is high morbidity population.  The company has a fairly simple procedure that was found to simultaneously solve issues around hypertension and diabetes, while treating obesity.  GI physicians loved the technology since it offered them a whole new class of patients.  Just like GI physicians, cardiologists are also a competitive and procedure driven specialty, and they are quickly adopting new technologies in cardiac stents and percutaneous valves.  The talk was highly interactive and generated lot of discussion.
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Please mark 3 great conferences focused on life science, medtech, & healthcare, in the next two months, in San Francisco Bay Area, on your calendar, & see info on life science networking group that meets every week.

www.eppicglobal.org EPPICon annual conference is on March, 29, at Westin, SF and it features a panel on “Neglected & Rare Diseases” http://bit.ly/1c1vvTR, on “Point of Care”, on “Innovations in Clinical Development of Novel Agents” and more. Excellent event to network with VCs, panelists, speakers & other professionals.

www.tiecon.org is on May 16 & 17 at Santa Clara Convention Center.  On day 2, May 17th, it will feature a Life Science track with keynote and a distinguished panel on “Disruptions in Healthcare”. Great to network with entrepreneurs working inside and on the boundaries of various disciplines.

www.healthtechnologyforum.com  annual conference is on May, 20 at Parc 55, Wyndham, SF and it has excellent lineup of speakers and panels with a broad focus on “pathways to sustainable health”. More specific panels will focus on patient engagement, medical ethics, IoT, health apps, building resilient communities and more. Excellent to network with physicians, non profits & other entrepreneurs.

www.bio2devicegroup.org meets every Tuesday & covers a broad range of topics pertaining to biotech, medical device and pharmaceutical industries. On Tuesday, March 22, at 8:30am Johannes Schweizer, Arbor Vita will talk on OncoE6™ Cervical Test that Predicts Development of Cervical Cancer www.bio2devicegroup.org – Free event, all are welcome. Become a member and network with diverse range of life science industry professionals.
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Hyper-Connected World – IoT and Implications for Healthcare


Internet of Things (IoT) is the new big buzzword, in the technology innovation.  It enables objects that contain embedded technology to interact with internal states or external environment.  As I see it, IoT is about empowering devices to gather and share information directly with each other, with people, and over the cloud, making it easier, convenient, faster, cheaper, and more effective to collect, record, and analyze data streams. Thus far internet empowered people to easily access information.  IoT will empower devices and finally, this will give a way to put data to use, in real time and it can help solve all sorts of interesting challenges, across a range of industries.  In May, 2014 two fantastic conferences will discuss IoT.  TiEcon 2014 has a track dedicated to discussing IoT and HealthTech Forum has a panel to discuss the impact of IoT on Healthcare.  See below registration details.

I am most interested in IoT’s application in the life science industry.  Apparently IoT is likely to revolutionize healthcare.  Currently, it is people who enable most of the flow of communication.  For instance, consider a patient in critical condition who needs to be constantly monitored and his vital signs checked by a healthcare professional.  Now consider that instead of a professional coming in at regular intervals, this can be done with automated flow of information.  People have a limited bandwidth.  People’s limits in attention span, time etc. can and do lead to all sorts of errors.  But technology has advanced and there are smart sensors that can collect, record, and analyze patient data more easily.  We already have smart sensors and connectivity to make all this possible.  And yet, right now only 1% of things are connected, according to Joseph Bradley, General Manager of Cisco Consulting Services.

Now consider a world of such connectivity that every one of over a trillion everyday items have at least some ability to store and process information.  The Internet of Things promises to be the most disruptive technological revolution since the advent of the World Wide Web.  Projections are that over a 100 billion uniquely identifiable objects will be connected to the internet by the year 2020.

Kevin Ashton, General Manager at Belkin, who coined the term “The Internet of Things”, envisions a world of such connectivity where not only trillion everyday items store, process and share information but they can also share that information, over the global internet with other trillion items.  Imagine connected roads where the information of slowing traffic is instantly connected through sensors embedded in the roads so other less busy roads can instantly open up carpool lanes to everyone.  Now imagine a smart bandaid that directly communicates to the physician whether the diabetic foot ulcer wound is healing or getting worse and timely intervention can save an amputation.

English: internet Español: internet

English: internet Español: internet (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the life science arena, the implications of such connectivity will be huge.  Not only it will make hospital and nursing facility stays shorter and care more affordable, but home healthcare will become routine as monitoring becomes easier.  It will have implications for the aging population.  An American turns 50, every 7 seconds  http://bit.ly/1ivIWhf.  Most older individuals would prefer to live in their own homes for as long as they can.  Sensors and systems like Lively http://bit.ly/11iBk7g are working on making this possible.  Living in a hyper connected world is not going to be free of challenges.  IoT will raise many new questions and challenges, some of them technical but also many moral and philosophical.

See discount codes to register for TiEcon 2014, www.tiecon.org and for Health Technology Forum

www.tiecon.org – If you are a professional  in #healthIT, #digital health,  #internetofthings, #cloud, #bigdata or related, then this is the conference, you don’t want to miss – It offers a fabulous opportunity to network with 3000+ professionals and listen to top notch speakers and panelists.  Register for #TiEcon (May 16 & 17 at Santa ClaraConvention Center) as my guest, at link http://tinyurl.com/kr2hkcw  & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount.

Healthtechnology Forum conference http://www.healthtechnologyforum.com, focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health, is on May 20 in SF. Please register for the conference as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.  Also check out & participate in code-a-thon on patient engagement, for May 8.  Over 20K+ in prizes.

JOBS: are posted at the link http://bit.ly/1o85CTM

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