Dispensed: Tim Ferriss is backing psychedelic research, how to change your business model as told by pitch decks, and how much money healthcare CEOs make

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Hello,

Welcome to another edition of Dispensed, our newsletter recapping the stories that preoccupied Business Insider’s healthcare team this week. I’m told by a reader that our banner is a great reminder to take vitamins, which is about as good as any to take a minute to get caught up on the world of healthcare.


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I spent some time this week thinking about the Trump administrations’ primary care initiative, in which a percentage of Medicare recipients would get their primary care paid for on a per member per month basis.

If that sounds familiar, it’s because it’s similar to the work companies like Iora Health are doing, largely through deals with private insurers in Medicare Advantage. I caught up with Iora’s CEO Rushika Fernandopulle to get a sense of the impact the program might have.

Erin Brodwin had the scoop on a psychedelic research facility opening up in London with the help of entrepreneur Tim Ferriss.

Tim Ferriss just helped launch the world’s first research center dedicated to turning psychedelics into medicines

  • The world’s first research hub dedicated exclusively to psychedelics opens on Friday with backing from author and entrepreneur Tim Ferriss.
  • Located in London, the new center will be ground zero for studying the potential of turning drugs like ecstasy and magic mushrooms into medical treatments.
  • It’s called the Imperial Center for Psychedelic Research, and it was funded with nearly $US4 million from donors.
  • Scientists at the center will focus on using psychedelics to treat thorny brain diseases like depression, anxiety, and anorexia.

She and Emma Court had some great dispatches this week from the world of startups. For one, there’s a growing interest in companies tackling mental health.

A Silicon Valley VC in the hottest area of healthcare explains what’s driving a surge in interest for mental-health startups

  • Researchers at Rock Health, a Silicon Valley-based venture-capital firm dedicated to the hottest area of healthcare – digital health – say interest in mental-health startups is starting to pick up.
  • The VC fund has backed dozens of digital health startups including Omada, which helps people manage heart disease and diabetes using virtual coaching, and Marigold, a platform that links people with addiction to text-based peer support.
  • In a new report, the firm’s researchers explore how and why these startups are attracting the attention of other, more established companies seeking to acquire them.

Emma meanwhile took a look at the pitch decks the startup HealthJoy used before and after its changed its business model.

We got a look at the pitch decks that buzzy $US40 million startup HealthJoy used to snag early investors and then execute a huge strategic shift

  • HealthJoy, a health-tech startup, started off selling its product to people who were newly insured through the Affordable Care Act’s marketplaces.
  • But when that market started to sour, cofounders Doug Morse-Schindler and Justin Holland realised they needed to pivot.
  • HealthJoy’s story, as told through two early pitch decks shared with Business Insider, speaks to the demand for technology that can help people navigate an ever-shifting healthcare market.

Emma also spoke to Ethan Perlstein about the beginnings and sudden end to the biotech Perlara, and what he learned along the way.

The buzzy biotech Perlara got into Y Combinator and raised $US10 million from investors like Mark Cuban before things went south. Its founder shares the key lesson he learned from the failure.

  • Ethan Perlstein started the biotech Perlara to focus on developing treatments for patients with devastating rare diseases who don’t currently have options.
  • In five years, Perlara quickly vaulted to success, from a slot in Y Combinator to investments from drug giant Novartis and the billionaire Mark Cuban.
  • But when things went south, Perlstein was forced to wind down the business.
  • He told Business Insider about how he built a biotech from scratch as a first-time entrepreneur, and what went wrong.

Emma and I spent some time digging through regulatory filings to round up how much money pharma and healthcare CEOs made in 2018. The pay packages range from single-digit millions to north of $US26 million.

CEO pay healthcareeff Roberson/AP; Toby Melville / Reuters; Stefan Zaklin / Getty; Merck; Yutong Yuan/Business Insider

Healthcare CEOs make millions every year. Here’s what the industry’s top executives earned in 2018.

Some noteworthy pay packages:

  • GlaxoSmithKline CEO Emma Walmsley: $US7,662,210
  • Merck CEO Ken Frazier: $US17,643,087
  • Abbott Laboratories CEO Miles White:$US24,254,238
  • Centene CEO Michael Neidorff: $US26,122,414

Read on to find out more.

And the fun of our 10 people transforming business isn’t done yet! Here’s some more coverage based on our conversations with the nominees.

That’s all for this week – stay tuned next week for a big project the healthcare team’s been working on for a while now, I hope you’ll like it!

In the meantime, feel free to send tips or words of encouragement in the final days of edits to the healthcare team at [email protected], and you can find me at [email protected]

– Lydia

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