Marketing assets

M&A deals are down; Also, is the “pandemic phase” over?

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he war in Ukraine, supply chain issues and rising labor costs and interest rates are all putting downward pressure on the volume of healthcare transactions, according to KPMG report on mergers and acquisitions in the healthcare sector for the first quarter. While 2021 was all about stratospheric valuations, the consultancy expects a return to earth as investors tread more cautiously with longer due diligence processes. There were 427 M&A deals in the first quarter, which marked a 34% decline in healthcare deal volume compared to the same period last year. “The exceptional valuations achieved by some sellers in 2021 raised the expectations of many traders today, but their dreams of liquidity could fade as new cautious suitors retreat into 2022,” the report noted.

There was a sharp decline in private equity activity with half as many deals closed in the last quarter of 2021 compared to the first quarter of this year. While PEs’ appetite for hospitals, healthcare systems, and medical practices has waned, there has been a 4% increase in transactions involving healthcare IT and analytics. The biggest M&A deal of the quarter was hospital revenue cycle management firm R1 RCM’s roughly $4.1 billion bid for Cloudmed, as hospitals struggled financially due to to the Covid-19 pandemic are looking for other ways to collect unpaid or underpaid invoices.

So what awaits us? KPMG suggests we can expect more partnerships, co-operating agreements and joint ventures, “in part because they can add value faster than acquisitions.” In addition, there will be sales of non-core assets and underperforming products.

With $35 million in funding, Waltz Health aims to lower drug prices by working with — not against — the system

After a 30-year career as an executive at some of the nation’s largest drug benefit managers — the intermediaries that help set drug prices between manufacturers and insurers — Mark Thierer is ready for his next act: helping customers to find the lowest prices. The former OptumRx CEO and his 28-year-old son Jonathon Thierer founded Chicago-based Waltz Health in early 2021. The company, which sneaked out this week with $35.4 million in series funding Led by GV (formerly Google Ventures), collected price data from pharmacies, insurers, pharmacy benefit managers, and discount drug card marketing companies. Its first product is a market research tool powered by this data engine that will show the patient the lowest price in the store they are in, whether that means paying cash or using their health benefits. Learn more here.


Offers of the week

Bridging the Clinical Trial Diversity Gap: Boston-based Reify Health, which helps connect patients and pharmaceutical companies in clinical trials, announced it raised a $220 million Series D funding round which values ​​the company at more than $4.8 billion. The round, co-led by Altimeter Capital and Coatue, will aim to accelerate the company’s plans to diversify the pool of clinical trial participants.

The next generation call center: Artificial intelligence healthcare startup Syllable, which has developed an automated assistant for talking, texting and chatting with patients, raised $40 million Series C funding round led by growth capital firm TCV with participation from Oak HC/FT, Section32 and Verily.

Scaling Behavioral Health: Concert Health, a medical group and technology platform that helps integrate behavioral health into primary care and women’s health practices, raised a $42 million Series B led by Define Ventures and includes participation from strategic investors CommonSpirit Health and Advent Health. More than half of the 27,000 patients it has served to date benefit from the government’s Medicaid and Medicare health insurance program and capital will go towards expansion in Arkansas, Massachusetts and Washington.


Outstanding

Healthcare software company NexHealth reached a $1 billion valuation following a $125 million Series C funding round.

Artificial intelligence start-up Bioants is also a unicorn, as it seeks to expand its digital therapy and home care programs with $300 million in Series D funding.

At least 169 children in 12 countries have developed severe hepatitis in an unexplained outbreak that researchers believe may be linked to a virus that typically causes mild cold symptoms.

Health insurer Humans profits reached $930 million in the first quarter, reporting better-than-expected results in a competitive environment for its Medicare Advantage business. centene reported nearly $850 million in first-quarter profits as membership grew by 1.9 million on higher enrollments in Medicaid, Medicare and Obamacare.

Coronavirus Updates

Dr. Antoine Fauci Told The PBS News Hour yesterday that the United States is “out of the pandemic phase” as far as Covid is concerned. He backed up the claim by noting that hospitalizations, infections and deaths are all at fairly low levels, although he added that for much of the rest of the world the pandemic is still ongoing. Of course, that doesn’t mean Covid isn’t an issue anymore. Fauci say it Washington Post today that “We are really in a transition phase, from a deceleration in numbers to hopefully a more controlled phase and endemicity.”

This largely follows what many public health experts have said Forbes last month – that years 3 and 4 of Covid will be different from the first two years. That’s not to say Covid will go away – cases, hospitalizations and deaths have all increased over the past two weeks – but it will likely remain at a lower level, with seasonal and regional surges in infections that could require more interventions.

What this characterization of where we are with Covid misses, however, are the lingering impacts of the disease. Potentially up to 20% of the population who catch Covid will experience long-term symptoms that will persist for months or even years. Scientists are still working to pinpoint exactly what causes long Covid, and treatments for people may be even further away. “Until we know more about how to prevent and treat long Covid, we can anticipate a heavy burden on the healthcare system in the near future,” said Amanda Castel, professor of epidemiology at the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University. Forbes last month.


Pfizer asks FDA to clear Covid Booster for children ages 5-11

Pfizer and BioNTech have requested emergency use authorization from the Food and Drug Administration for a booster shot of their Covid-19 vaccine for children ages 5 to 11, as part of the latest efforts to expand the protection for young children, who were exposed to a greater risk of hospitalization. by the omicron variant. Learn more here.

Other coronavirus news

The White House has announced a series of initiatives aimed at increasing the use of Covid antiviral drugswhich are not widely used although they are readily available.

The authorities in beijing ordered nearly 20 million of its residents to undergo mass Covid-19 testing from Tuesday as they try to curb the rapid spread of the coronavirus to avoid a citywide lockdown similar to the one controversial set up in Shanghai.

More than half of all Americans— including about 75% of children — had evidence of previous coronavirus infection in their bloodstream after the omicron variant raged across the country, according to the CDC.

Antibody produced by Covid-19 vaccines and booster shots may be less effective in defending against the omicron variant than previous coronavirus strains, new research suggests.

High Trump administration officials— and potentially the president himself — stepped in to help a struggling trucking company receive a $700 million Covid-19 pandemic loan after Defense Department officials advised against it.

Through Forbes

Dry weather forecast calls for higher food prices and billions in agricultural losses

How TikTok Live became “a strip club full of 15-year-olds”

Elon Musk’s ‘free speech’ idea could destroy Twitter’s vital advertising business

what else we read

COVID is spreading among deer. What does this mean for the pandemic? (Nature)

Lack of Covid testing leaves researchers blind to patterns of evolution, WHO warns (The Guardian)

The doctor who tries to bring back surprise billing (STAT)