Over the past week, Jiff, iHealth Lab, CVRx and Zyga Technology have all separately announced completion of financing rounds.
Jiff, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based digital health technology company, announced an $18 million series B round led by Venrock, which was joined by Aberdare Ventures and Aeris Capital. Jiff indicated it would use the funds to expand its sales and marketing team, grow its network of sales and distribution partners, and build out its network of digital health partners.
iHealth Lab, a Mountain View, Calif.-based designer of mobile personal healthcare products, announced it had secured $25 million in capital from Xiaomi Ventures. This is iHealth’s first institutional round of funding. iHealth indicated the funding would go toward expanding its global reach, accelerating growth and innovation, and investing in additional sales and marketing resources.
CVRx, a developer of an implantable system designed to treat hypertension and heart failure headquartered in Minneapolis, announced it had secured a $15 million growth capital debt facility from Silicon Valley Bank. CVRx indicated the funding would go toward marketing development and clinical activities.
Zyga Technology, a developer of minimally invasive solutions for the spine based in Minnetonka, Minn., announced (pdf) it had completed a $10 million round of financing. The company indicated it intended to use the proceeds to fund the expansion of its U.S. sales and marketing organization as well as support clinical studies. The financing is a combination of $8 million in debt and with $2 million in equity. Silicon Valley Bank was the sole debt provider while the equity financing comes from all existing major investors.
Technology investors, including VC firms and portfolio managers of large mutual funds, are increasingly targeting healthcare data firms as new sources for investments. A recent Reuters report highlights this trend with interesting detail.
Investors are finding firms that gather and analyze healthcare data appealing because of the growth of electronic records and consumer use of health tracking technology. In addition, investing in these companies would seem to present less of a risk than investing in biotech firms whose profitability hinders on the successful development of just a single or few drugs.
According to a report from digital health seed funding firm Rock Health, VC funding for healthcare technology firms was at $2.3 billion as of June 2014, which already exceeded the 2013 total.
Almost 50% of this funding comes from six categories: payer administration ($211 million), digital medical devices ($206 million), analytics and big data ($196 million), healthcare consumer engagement ($193 million), population health management ($162 million) and personalized medicine ($150 million).
Reuters, citing Rock Health information, reports that VC firms investing in healthcare technology companies this year include Andreessen Horowitz, Qualcomm Ventures and Google Ventures, while Intel, General Electric and Medtronic have acquired digital health companies.
Several large technology funds are committing a larger percentage of their portfolio to health companies. Reuters reports that the Hennessy Technology fund devotes a quarter of its portfolio to health technology companies, while the Waddell and Reed Science and Technology A Fund and the Ivy Science and Technology fund each now have about 14 percent of their portfolios in healthcare funds.
This trend is yet another example of investors finding new ways to invest in the thriving healthcare industry, even for those investors wary of taking reimbursement risk traditional provider-side investments who still wish to dip their toes into the broader industry.
On September 3, 2014, the CMS Office of the Actuary published a report in Health Affairs spelling out its projections for health care expenditure growth over the next ten years. The authors of the report expect health spending growth to remain slow at 3.6% in 2013, which is the fifth year in a row of spending growth under 4%. The report blames the slow growth on a lukewarm economic recovery, government sequestration and increases in private health insurance cost-sharing requirements.
For 2014, the growth in health spending is expected to be 5.6% since 9 million Americans will obtain insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”) through Medicaid expansions or the health insurance exchanges. Parallel to the increased coverage will be a reduction of out-of-pocket spending by 0.2%. Additionally, annual growth of 6% is expected for 2015 through 2023 due to further implementation of the ACA’s coverage expansion, healthier economic growth and an aging baby-boomer population. While this growth rate is larger than recent years, it is still slower than the growth averaged over the past two decades. However, since health spending is projected to grow 1.1% faster than the average economic growth until 2023, health care’s share of the nation’s gross domestic product may increase up to 19.3% in 2023 from 17.2% in 2012.
Health Diagnostic Laboratory in Virginia and several other labs are under investigation by the Office of Inspector General and Justice Department into the practice of compensating physicians for ordering their tests, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
HDL halted the payments following an HHS Special Fraud Alert (pdf) issued in June that notes the OIG has identified specific trends involving transfers of value from laboratories to physicians the OIG believes presents a “substantial risk of fraud and abuse under the anti-kickback statute.”
We’ve discussed regulatory issues with investing in clinical laboratories in the past and will likely cover this piece more fully in a future blog post and Law360 column.
Below is a link to view the latest entry from the monthly Law360 that we publish relating to healthcare private equity investments.
We’ve listened closely to the recent Cain Brothers’ House Calls on behavioral health and, like many professionals in this market, we believe these factors and others will continue to drive investment. As a result, we remain bullish on this sector of health care. Moreover, there are additional factors that contribute to a strong market and private equity investors are well situated to take advantage of the opportunity.
View the column “Bullish Behavioral Health Market Drives Investment” (pdf).
AirStrip has announced (pdf) it has raised $25 million in a strategic funding round.
AirStrip, headquartered in San Antonio, Texas, is the developer of the AirStrip ONE enterprise-wide clinical mobility solution.
The funding round was led by the Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund, Sequoia Capital and Wellcome Trust. New investors included the Gary and Mary West Health Investment Fund, Dignity Health, St. Joseph Health and Leerink Partners.
AirStrip indicated the funding will go toward supporting the growth of AirStrip ONE, expansion into the home health space, internationalization efforts and integration with analytics engines.
Healthsense has announced it raised $10 million in financing.
Healthsense, headquartered in Mendota Heights, Minn., is a provider of technology-enabled care solutions for the senior care continuum, including remote monitoring, emergency response and wellness management solutions.
The financing round was led by Mansa Capital. Previous investors Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Radius Ventures also participated in the round.
Healthsense indicated the new capital will support the company’s expansion into managed care and other healthcare sectors.
HealthQuest Capital has announced it has raised $110 million for its debut fund.
HealthQuest Capital (HQC) is a Menlo Park, Calif.-based fund sponsored by Sofinnova Ventures.
HQC indicated it will focus investments in the medical device, diagnostics, patient care products, consumer health/OTC and healthcare IT fields, with a primary focus on commercial stage investments, providing capital towards growing revenues and scaling existing businesses in promising sectors.
HQC’s initial portfolio includes Vestagen, First Aid Shot Therapy and Castle Biosciences.
Castle Biosciences has announced (pdf) it raised $11.8 million in financing.
Castle Biosciences, headquartered in Friendswood, Texas, is a cancer-focused molecular diagnostics company which currently offers prognostic tests for patients with cancers including uveal and cutaneous melanoma, esophageal, thymoma and brain cancers as well as malignant pleural mesothelioma.
The financing round was led by new investor HealthQuest Capital. Participation also included current Castle Biosciences’ investors Mountain Group Capital and Affiliates, Longfellow Venture Partners and others.
Castle Biosciences indicated the funds would be used to expand clinical availability of its portfolio cancer diagnostic tests, including DecisionDx-Melanoma, its test to determine metastatic risk in patients with melanoma.
Andrew Alliance has announced the closing of a series B financing round.
Andrew Alliance, which is based in Switzerland and will be opening an office in Boston, is a developer of life science robotics. In January 2013, Andrew Alliance introduced Andrew, a co-worker robot designed to assist scientists by taking over the manipulation of commercial laboratory pipettes.
Funding for the round came from Omega Funds, which specializes in late-stage life science investments.
Andrew Alliance indicated the funding would go toward expanding the reach of its robots through new developments and the establishment of commercial operations in the U.S. market.