Dispensed: The slide deck Devoted used to raise $300 million, activists pressure Allergan, and Facebook's blood donation tools

Hollis Johnson/Business Insider


It’s been one of those weeks where it seems most of the headlines are being taken over by topics that aren’t directly related to healthcare (though I am curious to hear what you all thought of President Donald Trump’s plan to end the HIV epidemic by 2030).

And it seems like the pressure’s still on at Allergan, with activist investor David Tepper going after Botox-maker Allergan again this week, calling for the company to split the roles of chairman and CEO. Right now, Brent Saunders serves in both positions. Tepper wrote that separating the roles would be the “first step” to turning Allergan around, my colleague Emma Court reports.

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To start, I got the scoop on the slide deck that buzzy Medicare Advantage startup Devoted Health used to raise $US300 million in its series B, catapulting it to a $US1.8 billion valuation.

We got a look at the slide deck that buzzy startup Devoted Health used to hit a $US1.8 billion valuation before it signed up any customers

  • Devoted Health, a buzzy Medicare Advantage startup that raised $US300 million in a massive funding round ahead of its first year of offering health plans, has ambitious plans to grow its business over the next five years.
  • Medicare Advantage is the private version of the US government health program for elderly people. Startups and established health insurers are rapidly expanding in the program.
  • Business Insider has learned that Devoted Health, which launched its first plans in Florida this year, plans to make almost $US1.2 billion in revenue by 2023 by growing to more than 100,000 members.
  • In the company’s slide deck for investors, Devoted laid out plans to get to margins that surprised industry experts.

On the pharmacy side of healthcare, there were some interesting stories that kept me busy as well. For starters, I learned that Capsule, the pharmacy startup based in NYC that delivers medication for free in less than 2 hours managed to more than triple its revenue in 2018.

And I sat down with Colleen Lindholz, the president of Kroger Health, who oversees the $US22 billion supermarket chain’s pharmacies and clinics. Her goal: Fill fewer prescriptions by keeping people healthier. After thinking a lot about what the retail pharmacy giants like CVS and Walgreens as well as the pharmacy startups are up to, pharmacies within grocery stores weren’t really on my radar. Now I can say, they most certainly are.

President of Kroger Health Colleen LindholzCourtesy KrogerPresident of Kroger Health Colleen Lindholz.

Kroger, the largest grocer in America, explains how it’s turning to healthcare as it takes on Amazon and Whole Foods

  • Kroger is the largest grocery-store chain in America, and it has 2,200 pharmacies and more than 200 health clinics.
  • The company’s goal is to help keep its customers healthier. In that way, it’s acting more like a doctor or nurse than ever before.
  • Importantly, that also means Kroger wants to fill fewer prescriptions, according to Kroger Health President Colleen Lindholz, who oversees the company’s pharmacy and health clinics. It’s a counterintuitive idea, given that retail pharmacies typically make money based on how many prescriptions they sell.
  • The grocery-store chain is also building a system that combines information about what food customers’ buy with information about their prescriptions, so that pharmacists can better counsel patients on healthier habits to treat “food as medicine.”

Out on the West Coast, Erin Brodwin took a look at the tool Facebook has in 4 countries that aims to make blood donation requests as simple as asking for recommendations. It’s about to come to the US now.

Facebook is about to launch a tool in the US that pings you to donate blood when there are shortages

  • Facebook has a blood donation tool in 4 countries that lets users give and ask for blood by way of a feature akin to the “ask for recommendations” tool.
  • The company is gearing up to launch the tool in the US within the next few months, the project lead told Business Insider ahead of a public event at its Silicon Valley headquarters on Thursday.
  • Roughly 35 million people have already signed up with the tool across Brazil, Bangladesh, India, and Pakistan since it launched there roughly two years ago, the project lead said.
  • Last September, Business Insider reported exclusively on issues with the platform in India, where local experts alleged that its person-to-person format was contributing to a black market for blood.
  • With the US version of the tool, individuals won’t be able to request blood. Only blood services provide

For those following along with the alt-protein world, Erin also took a look at a “super protein” startup that has a connection to organisms deep inside Yellowstone’s volcanic hot springs.

While we’ve head our heads down on a few bigger projects/stories this week, our tech team here at BI has been kind enough to pick up some other interesting news coming out of the health-tech space.

Tips? Additional slide decks you think I’d find interesting (really, all of them, I’d love to see them!), you can reach me at [email protected] or our entire team at [email protected]

And a little plug! I’ll be at the BIO CEO conference next Tuesday at 4 p.m. ET moderating a panel on the state of IPOs and M&A activity in biotech. Should be a good time, would love to say hi!

– Lydia

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