The second quarter of the year is oftentimes a slow one as the summer months approach, but Q2 2014 was surprisingly busy for digital health on all fronts. Investment dollars are up. FDA clearances averaged two per month and a surprising FDA deregulation proposal dropped during the quarter, too. M&A was even stronger than it was in Q1, which was already a record quarter for such deals.
Consumer health perhaps received the biggest boost during Q2 as Apple, Google, and Samsung — three of the largest companies in consumer tech — each announced plans to launch health and fitness tracking platforms in the coming months. While details are still scarce for these three initiatives, their launches are sure to boost consumer interest health tracking and management tools — at least to some degree.
Digital health M&A on track to double year-over-year
As noted above the quarter had a record number of acquisitions — MobiHealthNews tracked nine such deals — one more than we did in the first quarter of the year. That brings the total for H1 2014 — 17 — even with total disclosed acquisitions from all of 2013. Could this year end up yielding twice as many as 2013?
April 2014 — Nuance acquires Accelerad Nuance Communications acquired cloud-based medical image sharing company Accelarad for an undisclosed amount at some point in the past. In April, it announced it was launching Accelerad’s technology, combined with Nuance’s existing networks, under the new name PowerShare Network.
April 2014 — Opko buys Inspiro Medical Biopharmaceutical company Opko Health has acquired Israeli smart inhaler company Inspiro Medical for a sum in “the low eight figures”, according to Opko’s Director of Strategic Investment Les Funtleyder. The company will be using Inspiro’s Inspiromatic technology to develop an app-connected inhaler that will be bundled with a forthcoming new drug for asthma, COPD, and cystic fibrosis.
April 2014 — Hearst Health acquires CareInSync Hearst Health Network acquired Santa Clara, California-based CareInSync for an undisclosed amount. CareInSync will become part of Zynx Health, an evidence- and experience-based clinical improvement company within the Hearst Health Network, which is itself a recently formed division of the Hearst Corporation.
May 2014 — Covidien acquires Zephyr Technology In the first of two acquisitions broken by MobiHealthNews in May, medical device giant Covidien acquired sports and medical wearables company Zephyr Technology. Although the terms are still unknown, Zephyr has raised more than $13 million since its founding in 2003 — back when health-sensing wearables were a relative rarity. Zephyr’s investors included 3M New Ventures, Alsop Louie Partners and Motorola Solutions Venture Capital.
May 2014 — Weight Watchers acquires Wello During its quarterly conference call with analysts, Weight Watchers confirmed rumors that had been circulated for a few months that it has acquired Silicon Valley-based weight loss startup Wello for an undisclosed sum. As Weight Watchers CEO Jim Chambers and CTO Dan Crowe explained on the call, the Wello acquisition is an important component of the company’s strategy to compete in an increasingly digital weight loss market.
May 2014 — Medtronic buys Corventis In another major deal broken by MobiHealthNews, medical device giant Medtronic acquired peel-and-stick medical sensor company Corventis. While neither company has publicly commented on the deal, it is expected to be officially announced some time in the next few weeks. Initial reports put the deal at $150 million.
May 2014 — St. Jude to acquire CardioMEMS In 2010, St. Jude invested $60 million in CardioMEMS for 19 percent of the company. They also had an option to purchase the remaining 81 percent of the company for $375 million. When CardioMEMS secured FDA clearance last month, St. Jude Medical said that it now intends to exercise its option to acquire CardioMEMS, and plans on completing the acquisition in the second quarter of 2014.
June 2014 — Physicians Interactive buys MedHelp The digital health marketing company, which offers medical reference apps and resources like Skyscape and Omnio to physicians, acquired one of the oldest, online consumer health brands, MedHelp, for an undisclosed sum. The acquisition marked one of the first forays into consumer health for Physicians Interactive, which apart from some consumer-facing health advertising through its mobile ad network Tomorrow Networks, had been largely focused on providers.