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Innovationrx: The 50 Most Promising Blockchain Startups | Plus | Mask Confusion

Some people think of the word “blockchain” when they think of cryptocurrency, but this year’s Forbes Blockchain 50 list showed that some of the world’s biggest companies are using it to help them save time and money. It’s not because of Bitcoin at all. With $137 billion in revenue in 2021, Anthem is one of the largest health insurers in the country.

It’s using a technology called blockchain to speed up an administrative process called “coordination of benefits,” which helps people figure out which insurance company is their main one. Some Medicaid patients in Texas can now get this information quickly thanks to a shared ledger with Health Care Service Corporation. This used to take weeks or months.

Blockchain is also being looked at by big hospital systems as a way to speed up time-consuming administrative tasks. In 2019, Providence, a not-for-profit Catholic health system, bought Seattle health-tech startup Lumedic to help with “prior authorization.”

This is when a doctor needs to check with a patient’s insurance company to make sure certain surgeries or medications will be covered by the insurance company. As of 2021, 16 Providence hospitals and four other clinics were using the same ledger to speed up the process of getting prior authorization from days to hours. There’s a full list here.

Doximity, which started out as a social network for doctors, announced Tuesday that it will buy the on-call doctor scheduling company Amion. This move is part of Doximity’s plan to add more digital tools for doctors. He started Amion in 1998 so that he and his wife, a doctor who was a pediatric resident at the time, could help her build out on-call schedules for her team.

Its name comes from a doctor asking, “Am I on?” Amion now manages nearly 200,000 physician schedules across thousands of hospitals, and it does this by putting them together. During the four years of the deal, there is the possibility of up to $29 million in earnouts and equity compensation. The cash amount is $53.5 million.

The Deals of the Week

Generally, deals, where the terms aren’t made public, don’t make the cut. When Thirty Madison and Nurx merge today, we’re going to look at some of the numbers that we do know. At the end of June 2021, the telehealth company Thirty Madison had raised $210 million.

It was valued at $1 billion. Sales in the first three months of the year “exceeded an annual run rate of $100 million,” Bloomberg said at the time. In August 2020, the CEO of birth control delivery startup Nurx told TechCrunch that the company was making $150 million a year.

Nurx, which hasn’t publicly said how much money it makes, has raised $110 million. It says in the press release that the new company expects to make $300 million in revenue in 2022. We have two businesses that make the same amount of money merging in a situation where neither of them has a lot of extra money.

So who’s taking the haircut? Thirty Madison and Nurx “both saw the value in coming together in this way and how Thirty Madison’s care model could help us both grow faster,” a spokesperson said.

Innovationrx

9-Figure Ventus Therapeutics, a company that makes drugs, raised a $140 million Series C round led by SoftBank Vision Fund 2 and RA Capital Management. Ventus is using machine learning to try to find small molecule medicines for targets that were previously thought to be “impossible to treat.” Its main project, called VENT-01, is trying to stop an inflammatory process that’s a target for a lot of different diseases.

ConcertoCare, a company that provides home-based care for the elderly, raised a $105 million Series B round led by Wells Fargo Strategic Capital. This money will help the company grow. The company uses software, connected devices, and care from doctors, nurses, pharmacists, health coaches, and social workers in both the virtual and real world.

Investment firm Sixth Street said this week that Nobel Prize-winning chemist Jennifer Doudna will be its chief science advisor. Doudna On Board CRISPR-based gene-editing companies that Doudna helped start to include Intellia Therapeutics, Scribe Therapeutics, Editas Medicines, and Mammoth Biosciences. Doudna is also a scientific co-founder of several of these companies. In her new job, Doudna will “give advice on the most recent developments in CRISPR-related technology, ethics, and regulation,” according to the press release about her new job.

Noteworthy

$1.3 trillion is spent each year on the opioid epidemic, and it’s going up. In 2022, Amazon Care will bring in-person health care to more than 20 new cities. Cigna made $1.1 billion in profit in the fourth quarter of 2020, thanks to its subsidiary, Evernorth, which did well in the pharmacy business.

Scientists at Stanford used super-fast genome sequencing to look through the entire genome of a 3-month-old patient in just eight and a half hours. They were looking for mutations linked to epilepsy, and they found many of them.

Updates for Coronavirus

States like New York, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts have recently lifted their mask rules, which means more people can go outside without having to wear one. But that conversation doesn’t seem to be very relevant to what public health officials are telling people. As the head of the CDC, Rochelle Walensky, said today, her agency still recommends that people who live in areas where Covid-19 transmission is high still wear masks.

This is pretty much all of the countries right now. She did, however, point out that many states that say their mask mandates are going away are doing so in stages. Some mandates won’t go away until next month. In order to make these decisions, they will have to be made at the local level, she said.

Politicians and public health officials haven’t always been on the same page. This has made it hard for people on the ground to figure out how to deal with this phase of the pandemic. Today, a new Pew Research poll found that a change in public health guidance “made me feel a little lost.”

Most people who took the poll knew that some changes were caused by new scientific knowledge, but they still make people “less confident.” 50 percent of people say that public health officials like those at the CDC are doing an “excellent” or “good job” on Covid-19, down from 60 percent in August and 79 percent in March 2020. This shows how people feel about public health officials.

Boston and Denver are among the cities that aren’t requiring proof of vaccination as the number of Covid cases falls.

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu said Tuesday that the city will no longer require people to show proof of vaccination in indoor public places when certain Covid-19 case and hospitalization thresholds are met. This makes Boston the latest city to do so as the rate of new infections declines across the country.

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