Garmin to work with University of Kansas Medical Center and more digital health deals

By Dave Muoio
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Garmin and the University of Kansas Medical Center are taking a closer look at the role wearables can play in detecting and managing medical conditions, the groups announced earlier this week. Initially focused on sleep apnea and atrial fibrillation, the collaboration is a clear step beyond the fitness and wellness realm to which Garmin’s wearables have so far been limited.

“Garmin Health is excited to work with a nationally-recognized institution like KU Medical Center that is on the forefront of digital health research,” Scott Burgett, director of Garmin Health Engineering, said in a statement. “As patients assume increased responsibility for their own health care, Garmin is committed to the development of wearables that can lead to the prevention or detection of serious health conditions. With long battery life, high water rating, and high-quality sensor data, we can provide meaningful features that will help reduce health care costs and provide useful functionality for everyday life.”

Science 37 has announced a strategic collaboration with global pharma company UCB to implement the former’s site-less clinical trial platform in neurology and immunology research. UCB’s studies using Science37's decentralized Metasite model are slated to begin later this year, according to a statement.

“We created Science 37 to uniquely combine telemedicine technology, decentralized physician networks, and in-house experienced clinical study staff to take on new and exciting research studies,” Dr. Noah Craft, cofounder and CEO of Science 37, said in a statement. “We are thrilled to join forces and collaborate with UCB for an even better, more realistic patient experience moving forward.”

Bristol-Myers Squibb and Flatiron Health, a company specializing in oncology-specific EHR software for care and data-driven cancer research, have announced a three-year collaboration that will allow the biopharmaceutical company to use Flatiron’s data for research and development. The effort will focus on generating real-world data across a range of tumors, according to a statement, and broadens access to Flatiron and Foundation Medicine’s Clinico-Genomic Database.

“Our continued collaboration with Flatiron further strengthens our comprehensive [real-world evidence] capabilities, an important component of our oncology drug development program, giving us greater insight into the use and impact of our cancer therapies,” Dr. Thomas J. Lynch, executive vice president and chief scientific officer at Bristol-Myers Squibb, said in a statement. “We will work with Flatiron to contribute to [real-world evidence] industry guidance and standards, and advance new regulatory-focused [real-world evidence] use cases. Ultimately, this work will enable us to accelerate our ability to help patients.”

Type 2 diabetes diet coaching company Virta Health has announced new partnerships with Tippecanoe County Government, Indiana, and the City of Lafayette, Indiana. Through the deal, Virta’s intervention will be made available as a fully-covered healthcare benefit to these government employees.

“The Virta Treatment has been revolutionary for our employees living with Type 2 diabetes,” Tony Roswarski, mayor of the City of Lafayette, said in a statement. “Virta’s ability to reverse, not manage, Type 2 diabetes aligns with the innovative approach we take to improve the health of our employees. Furthermore, we anticipate the economic savings to be substantial and a huge win for the city.”

Klue, a startup that uses gesture monitoring to track eating behaviors, has announced two new partnerships. The first, with Stanford University, comprises a five-week clinical study exploring the company’s products on consumption behaviors. The second brings the company’s tech to Crossover Health’s Bay Area clinics.

“We see technology as a critical element of our care model, both to improve the patient experience and to amplify clinical outcomes. In our review of the market, we selected Klue as a partner based on their commitment to behavior change, complementing our mission to curate and integrate evidence-based point solutions,” Crossover Health Chief Strategy Officer Dr. Karoline Hilu said in a statement.

Highmark Health announced recently that it will be evaluating WellDoc’s BlueStar mobile app for individuals with Type 2 diabetes through its VITAL Innovation Program. More than 150 patients will participate in the program’s evaluation of the FDA-cleared digital therapeutic, which will conclude in December.

“Finding better ways to offer patients support and guidance in the fight against chronic disease is a priority of the VITAL program,” Sarah Ahmad, SVP of innovation and transformation for Highmark Health, said in a statement. “WellDoc’s BlueStar app is demonstrating promise as a therapy that can help control diabetes, making it well suited for further testing through VITAL, which can help accelerate the adoption of important new technologies, making them available to patients sooner.”

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