Greater Than One


Thought Leadership

Filter - September 2014

Google and AbbVie Team Up to Fight Aging

How much would you pay to unlock the fountain of youth? 1.5 billion, if you were to ask Google and biopharmaceutical giant AbbVie this past week.

Calico, a Google company headed by former Genentech CEO Art Levinson, and AbbVie teamed up in an effort to fight against and conduct research on age-related diseases and neurodegenerative disorders. Calico will focus mainly on drug development and discovery, while AbbVie will handle late-stage development and all marketing efforts.

Both partners have agreed to invest an initial $250 million, and potentially another $500 million each. The initial investment will fund the creation of state-of-the-art research facilities in the San Francisco Bay Area to oversee drug development and early clinical trials. AbbVie and Calico have agreed to split all profits evenly if any drugs are developed and approved.

When and if AbbVie and Calico's drugs are approved, the partnership would be unlike that of any tech or pharma company in history.

-GTO Search

The Future of Digital Health: Rock Health Conference

A few weeks ago, Rock Health, a nonprofit organization supporting entrepreneurs working at the “intersection of healthcare and technology,” held its fourth Innovation Summit in San Francisco. The underlying argument throughout this conference was the increasing role of technology within the healthcare world. Summit attendees reviewed not only some of the high-tech developments previously in place, but ultimately questioned where innovation could eventually take us: enhanced smartphone applications, wearable devices, and even virtual or robotic doctors.

The first of the two-day event kicked off with the keynote session between interviewer Kara Swisher, Co-executive Editor of Re/code, and Genentech CEO Ian Clark. They discussed the intermingling roles of biotech within the digital health space. While Mr. Clark believes that digital health has great potential in the healthcare world, such as Doctor on Demand and 3-D printing of blood, he is unsure of the potentiality of the wearables market, stating he believes, as of now, it is “trivial,” and that there are “no actionable data” yet. When asked how technology has most effectively changed the biotech industry, he noted the significant decrease in duration of time for innovation and significantly shortened clinical trials. The faster we can innovate, the more we can do.

Later that day, a group comprising the founders of Studio Dental, Doctor on Demand, and Pager were interviewed about The Uberification of Healthcare. Each speaker asserted that the majority of healthcare services could be administered virtually. Adam Jackson, the founder of Doctor on Demand, boldly stated that “17 out of 20 ER cases could literally be conducted via video.” During a session entitled Paging Doctor Droid, one of the speakers actually presented virtually, via a remote-controlled robotic video screen on wheels. This visual representation of technology in action demonstrated some of the possibilities that robots could provide within healthcare. This speaker emphasized that, compared to traditional procedures, robotic surgeries are simultaneously more precise and less invasive.

In order to further highlight the potential for health-tech, Rock Health hosted a showcase at the end of each day, displaying some of the newest and most innovative health-related wearables within the industry. A few of the devices on exhibition were Melon, a brainwave monitoring headband, designed to increase focus, meditation, and relaxation; Breathometer, an accessory that transforms your smartphone into a breathalyzer that not only measures your blood alcohol level, but also predicts how long it takes until you can legally drive; and Sculpt, a digital device that tests the quality of individual muscles throughout the body.

Walking away from this conference, one is filled with the unquestionable belief that technology is fundamentally altering the way healthcare is administered and the way organizations are relying on health tech to drive innovation. Its potential impacts stretch far beyond that of the operating room, into many aspects of everyday life, across the sick and the well.

-GTO West

Where We're Going

Digital Health Coalition Fall Summit 2014
New York, NY
October 8, 2014

Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society
Charleston, SC
December 3-5, 2014

Where We've Been

Medtech Vision 2014: Medtech in the Digital Age
Menlo Park, CA
September 9, 2014

ePharma Summit West
San Francisco, CA
September 22-24, 2014