H|T: The Healthtech Times – AstraZeneca pays $2B for Hamilton biopharma firm

Fusion Pharma
Plus: Neuralink’s first human subject shows off abilities on livestream.

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Fusion Pharmaceuticals to be acquired by AstraZeneca for more than $2 billion USD

Hamilton-based biopharmaceutical precision oncology firm Fusion Pharmaceuticals has entered an agreement that will see it acquired by pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca for up to $2.4 billion USD.

Fusion has been developing radioconjugates (RCs), which combine the precise targeting of antibodies, small molecules, or peptides with medical radioisotopes that aim to deliver radiation directly to cancer cells.

Fusion CEO John Valliant said in a statement that the acquisition will bring together Fusion’s expertise in RCs, including its research, development, manufacturing, and supply chain, with AstraZeneca’s work in small molecules and biologics engineering to develop new RCs.


Watch Neuralink’s First Human Subject Demonstrate His Brain-Computer Interface

On Wednesday, Neuralink introduced the first human subject to receive the company’s brain implant, a 29-year-old man who has been paralyzed from the shoulders down for eight years after a diving accident.

In a brief livestream on the social media platform X, the man introduced himself as Noland Arbaugh and said he’s able to play online chess and the video game Civilization using the Neuralink device. “If y’all can see the cursor moving around the screen, that’s all me,” he said during the livestream as he moved a digital chess piece. “It’s pretty cool, huh?”


With $45-million CAD Series B, PocketHealth gears up to continue North American expansion, AI push

Toronto-based PocketHealth’s software not only gives over 1.5 million people at over 650 hospitals and imaging centres across North America control over their medical images, but it also helps those patients make sense of those images using artificial intelligence.

With $45 million CAD ($33 million USD) in fresh Series B funding, PocketHealth’s plan remains the same: to continue investing in AI, product development, and expanding its footprint across Canada and the US. To support these efforts, the startup plans to double the size of its 110-person workforce in the next two years.


Hippocratic hits $500mn valuation as tech investors seek new bets in AI

One-year-old healthcare start-up Hippocratic AI has gained a $500mn valuation following a funding round, as Silicon Valley investors seek to cash in on promising new applications built using generative artificial intelligence.

Hippocratic, founded in February 2023, is creating AI “agents” that can assist hospitals and clinics. It is part of a wave of new companies seeking to build AI applications that can have a large impact on specific industries.

(Financial Times)

Flosonics Medical raises $27-million CAD Series C to scale uptake of wearable ultrasound device

Sudbury, Ontario-based healthtech startup Flosonics Medical has closed $27 million CAD ($20 million USD) in Series C financing as it looks to drive the adoption of its blood flow measurement wearable.

Founded in 2015, Flosonics is a medical device startup currently researching and developing wearable ultrasound technology. The startup’s FloPatch product is a wearable Doppler ultrasound for hemodynamic assessments.


Inside the Operating Room: Doctors Test a Revolutionary Brain-Computer Implant

Jeffrey Keefer lay on an operating table in the oldest hospital in America surrounded by a surgical team, a group of engineers and a gaggle of spectators hoping to witness the early stages of a healthcare revolution.

Keefer was undergoing brain surgery to relieve symptoms of Parkinson’s disease—but since his skull would be open for around four hours anyway, he had also agreed to have an experimental device called a brain-computer interface temporarily implanted.

(The Wall Street Journal)

Clarius, Fintel Connect among seven Vancouver tech orgs receiving new PacifiCan funding

The Pacific Economic Development Agency of Canada has announced approximately $14 million in new investments to support the growth of seven businesses and organizations in Vancouver.

Among the seven startups and organizations receiving funding is Clarius Mobile Health, which develops wireless handheld ultrasound scanners aimed at helping healthcare practitioners manage and perform exams from anywhere.


Healthcare platform Anima brings Salesforce-like capabilities to clinics, raises $12M

U.K. startup Anima is a “care enablement” platform that operates almost like a combination of Slack, Salesforce and Figma, but for healthcare clinics and hospitals.

The company recently raised a $12 million Series A funding round led by Molten Ventures.

Anima, a graduate of Y Combinator’s Winter 2021 batch, launched in September 2022 and is now used in 150 NHS clinics in England. The startup’s software lets clinic staff process and file healthcare documents, but adds in a higher degree of automation compared to legacy systems.


CDPQ’S $250-million Equity 25³ Fund is done after only four investments

Less than three and a half years after launching the largest Canadian fund of its kind, Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec has quietly shuttered Equity 25³, BetaKit has learned.

At the time, CDPQ dedicated $250 million CAD towards increasing diversity and inclusion through Equity 25³ and claimed it was “the largest Canadian fund ever created to target companies leveraging diversity as a vector of development and expansion.”

BetaKit has learned that Equity 25³ made just four investments in that timeframe. Meanwhile, Wils Théagène, formerly a senior director of private equity at CDPQ and the architect of Equity 25³, is no longer with CDPQ or the fund.

“With my next venture, I wanted to address the gap at [Series] A and then move up [and] continue to do growth,” said Théagène, who claimed that CDPQ’s Equity 25³ has now given him “the recipe” for his next fund.


As AI marches into medicine, investors eye security, privacy startups

Investors are starting to back startups that offer privacy and security services to bolster health AI products already on the market while they wait for crucial safety and privacy regulations to take shape.

Though health leaders are racing to deploy generative AI products that can automatically transcribe doctor-patient conversations during medical appointments or churn through massive repositories of scientific research, they’re still flummoxed about how to measure their quality. Cybersecurity experts have warned that indiscriminately hooking third-party apps up to health system networks could expose sensitive data to hackers as ransomware attacks surge, and regulators and industry groups are rushing to set standards for responsible AI use.


The BetaKit Keynote Stage lands in Vancouver for INNOVATEwest 2024

The BetaKit Keynote Stage is heading west, set to host captivating conversations with tech leaders at INNOVATEwest 2024.

On April 16 and 17 at the Vancouver Convention Centre, the stage will feature a roster of tech luminaries, including Canva chief evangelist Guy Kawasaki, key figures from Canada’s quantum sector, and a lively conversation between Koho founder and CEO Daniel Eberhard and Wealthsimple co-founder and CEO Michael Katchen.


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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