H|T: The Healthtech Times – AstraZeneca announces big Canadian expansion, hiring plans

Justin Trudeau and Doug Ford stand within a line of many leaders
Plus: BetterHelp barred by FTC from sharing data with Facebook.

The Healthtech Times is a weekly newsletter covering healthtech news from Canada and around the globe.

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AssistIQ raises $2.5 million CAD to cut down on medical waste in hospitals (BETAKIT)

The startup claims that its AI platform tracks the usage of disposable medical devices and supplies across surgeries and common procedures while saving time for nurses. This new data set provides visibility and insights for many hospital stakeholders that result in savings, according to AssistIQ.

Drug maker AstraZeneca to expand Canadian operations, hire hundreds of workers (NATIONAL POST)

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford were to appear at the company’s facility for the announcement, but unlike previous big drug company announcements, the government is not funding the company’s $500 million expansion in Canada.

Able Innovations strikes deal with Ottawa hospital for robotic patient transfer tech (BETAKIT)

Founded in 2018 by CEO Jayiesh Singh and CTO Philip Chang, Able Innovations’ device automates the patient transfer process, enabling a single caregiver to move an immobile patient between surfaces like a bed or stretcher.

The Toronto-based startup has raised around $7.5 million CAD to date, and earlier this year received funding from the Government of Canada to help it acquire advanced manufacturing equipment to bring its patient transfer platform to market.

Hims & Hers buoyed by record revenue growth in 2022, defying broader health tech market trends (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

The company, which went public two years ago and sells hair loss and sexual health products, brought in revenue of $527 million, up 94% from $272 million a year ago, according to its 2022 financial results released Monday.

The company's core products include solutions for men for dermatology issues, hair loss and sexual health. Hims has since added a women’s health business, called Hers, that focuses on birth control, sexual health and skin and hair care products.

Latest Alberta, BC budgets target talent shortage with otherwise minimal new tech investment (BETAKIT)

Though British Columbia and Alberta’s latest budgets allocate some funding towards each province’s innovation sector, the promises for tech were minimal and industry stakeholders had hoped to see more for the sector and small-to-medium-sized businesses.

Troubled mental-health startup Cerebral is cutting 15% of staff as it fights to stay afloat (INSIDER)

Mental-health startup Cerebral is laying off 15% of its workforce, or about 285 employees, as the company reels from a tumultuous year of public scrutiny and federal investigations into its prescribing practices.

CEO Dr. David Mou told employees in a February 27 email that the cuts are necessary for Cerebral to maintain a sustainable business "to ensure we can continue to provide care to our patients in need," according to a copy seen by Insider.

How to build a diverse talent ecosystem for Canada (BETAKIT)

In an Op-Ed, Palette Skills Chief Strategy Officer AJ Tibando says Canada seems well placed when it comes to talent acquisition, particularly in tech and innovation.

However, Tibando argues that firms still struggle to recruit workers and an educated workforce alone is not enough to solve Canada's talent crunch.

Kindbody banks $100M to fuel more acquisitions, growth of fertility clinic network (FIERCE HEALTHCARE)

More investors are banking on women's health, and Kindbody is reaping the benefits. The fertility-focused startup banked $100 million in fresh capital, raising its valuation to $1.8 billion.

The company, which operates fertility clinics and provides family-building benefits for employers, hit unicorn status last February when it acquired Vios Fertility Institute, a deal that propelled it to a $1.15 billion valuation, according to Kindbody executives.

Canada’s small businesses want open banking, too (BETAKIT)

According to a recent survey by Mastercard, over the past two years 90 percent of small business owners with disabilities, 79 percent of Indigenous small business owners, and 71 percent of women small business owners have sought out new digital tools to manage their businesses.

Mass General Brigham-Born revenue cycle company snags $55M (MEDCITY NEWS)

CodaMetrix, an AI platform for hospital revenue cycle management, recently closed a $55 million Series A funding round. The company, which was launched out of Mass General Brigham in 2019, is focused on simplifying the complicated process of translating patient records into codes for billing and clinical research.

GoodRx revenue sinks in fourth quarter (MOBI HEALTH NEWS)

The company, best known for its drug cost-transparency tools, reported $184.1 million in revenue for Q4 compared with $213.3 million in the prior-year period. Net loss for the quarter was $2 million, compared to $39.9 million last year, which the company said was due to a decrease in their provision for income taxes.

Future Fields raises $15.1 million CAD to equip more industries with bioreactors made from flies (BETAKIT)

Future Fields did not disclose who led the round, but noted that Bee Partners increased its equity stake. The round also saw participation from Toyota Ventures, Builders VC, AgFunder, Amplify Capital, Milad Alucozai of BoxOne Ventures, Green Circle Foodtech, Siddhi Capital, and Climate Capital.

BetterHelp barred by FTC from sharing data with Facebook (BLOOMBERG)

BetterHelp, Teladoc’s online therapy business, will be barred from sharing data, including about mental health, for advertising purposes, the Federal Trade Commission said in a statement, alleging that the company violated privacy pledges for years. The company will also pay $7.8 million to resolve allegations that it revealed sensitive data to companies including Facebook and Snap Inc.’s Snapchat.

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Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl

Alex Riehl is a staff writer and newsletter curator at BetaKit with a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. He's interested in tech, gaming, and sports. You can find out more about him at alexriehl.com or @RiehlAlex99 on Twitter.

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