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.
Epic Sciences has announced it raised $30 million in financing.
Epic Sciences, headquartered in San Diego, Calif., is a biotech company developing diagnostic tests to molecularly characterize circulating tumor cells (CTC) in the blood.
The $30 million series C preferred stock financing included new investors RusnanoMedInvest and Arcus Ventures, existing investors Domain Associates, Roche Venture Fund and Pfizer Venture Investments, and undisclosed individual investors.
Epic indicated the proceeds of the financing would go toward commercializing its circulating rare cell analysis platform with special focus on developing products and services to detect CTC in cancer.
DICOM Grid has announced it raised $6 million in financing.
DICOM Grid, headquartered in Phoenix, Ariz., is a healthcare IT company that has made a cloud-based platform for medical image management and exchange.
The funding round was backed by Canaan Partners, CHL Medical Partners, Mayo Clinic and several individual investors.
DICOM said the funding will be used for product development and to open up additional strategic integration opportunities with EHR and RIS providers.