LS Insights - FB-2018 - 7.23.2018 post

Private investment in digital health continued apace in the second quarter of 2018, based on our latest look at deal flow. As the sector has matured, growth in investment levels quarter-over-quarter and year-over-year appears sustainable for the foreseeable future.

Likewise, the closing of a handful of megadeals each quarter is becoming the rule rather than the exception. The second quarter saw seven megadeals for $100 million or more. That is right in line with the first quarter, when we also recorded seven rounds of $100 million or greater.

The top investees in the second quarter were diverse, ranging from biopharmaceuticals to artificial intelligence to primary care. This diversity may be a sign that investors are looking beyond the low-hanging fruit of infrastructure and patient engagement, or even diagnostic applications, to areas such as primary care where opportunities for digital disruption are less obvious.

It is also interesting to note that over half of the investment rounds of $100 million or more went to companies based in China. We’ve seen a steady increase in investments in Chinese digital health companies over the past few years. But this is the first time that we have seen them account for half of the top deals—including the three largest rounds for $200 million or more.

Here’s a summary of the seven largest deals of the quarter:


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Fenwick corporate lawyer Julia Forbess discussed biotech investment and financing trends with the BIO Buzz Center at the 2017 BIO Investor Forum.

“For 2018, we’re still expecting to see investment in core areas—oncology, orphan drugs and neurology. One thing that could be new is the number of tech investors interested in diagnostics and other

Fenwick’s Sixth Annual Digital Health Investor Summit started on an upbeat note with Rock Health’s Megan Zweig sharing the venture fund’s mid-year funding report. After the uncertainty brought by the 2016 presidential election and the political drama surrounding the future of the Affordable Care Act, it would not seem surprising to see investors take

It looks like the FDA is moving forward—and swiftly—with the digital health plan articulated in FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb's June blog post, previously outlined in this post. Closely tracking the commissioner’s post, the Center for Devices & Radiological Health released an action plan about its Digital Health Program and posted a notice for comment for a Software Pre-Certification Pilot Program.

The pilot program is a first step in the FDA’s reimagined digital health product oversight approach. What makes it stand out from the FDA’s prior regulatory approach is its aim "to develop a new approach toward regulating this technology – by looking first at the software developer or digital health technology developer, not the product."

Under its firm- and developer-based approach, the CDRH could "pre-certify" eligible digital health developers who "demonstrate a culture of quality and organizational excellence based on objective criteria, for example, that they can and do excel in software design, development, and validation (testing). Pre-certified developers could then qualify to be able to market their lower-risk devices without additional FDA review or with a more streamlined premarket review."

In his blog post, the FDA’s Scott Gottlieb announced that in August companies can submit a statement of interest that includes the qualities listed above and request participation in the pilot to FDAPre-CertPilot@fda.hhs.gov. The FDA’s Digital Health Team will evaluate submissions and select companies that reflect the broad range of software developers later in the month. “A critical component is that we will include small and large companies, traditional and non-traditional medtech companies, and products that range in risk,” Gottlieb said in his post. (Read more about how the CDRH is recruiting participants to the pilot program.)


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Last September, we noted that payers and providers were expected to become increasingly active digital health strategic investors given their challenges to improve margins and outcomes.

While there were only three investments by payer/providers in the second half of 2016, we saw a notable uptick in investment activity in the first quarter of 2017, when

If your work involves life sciences dealmaking, you know it’s the time of year to start firming up your plans for the week of the J.P. Morgan Healthcare Conference. In the last 10 years, the second week of January in San Francisco has evolved from a J.P. Morgan private meeting for healthcare investors to a week

Investors are increasingly interested in companies with technologies that will be subject to U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulation.

Until recently, some investors shied away from companies targeting the regulated space out of concern that the regulatory landscape created too much risk. However, thanks in part to new guidance from the FDA regarding the

Fenwick’s fifth annual Digital Health Investor Summit brought together investors who are active in the digital health space to discuss the evolving digital health sector and their investment outlook for the year ahead.

Here are my three key takeaways from this year’s Summit:

Playing in the Regulated Space

The consensus is it’s time to stop