What Matters: January's MedTech News You Need to Know

Overheard at GMM HQ Chipotle

"Yes, I know that guacamole is extra." - Director of National Institutes of Health, which just received a $2 billion raise.

WHAT THE INDUSTRY IS BUZZING ABOUT

PINK RIBBON 2.0

In partnership with Polaris Health Directions, MD Anderson Cancer Center will be launching a 30-patient feasibility study in which breast cancer patients will wear Apple Watches to self-report factors such as mood, symptoms, and side effects.

THERE'S AN APP FOR THAT

The patients will utilize an app called emPower that will track the self-reported data alongside info like heart rate and activity level, illustrating possible correlations and allowing patients to engage with other emPower users for a "social support network." Possible photo caption: Breast Friends Forever.

THE 411

The nine–month study hopes to improve self-discovery and thus create a better user experience for patients navigating cancer treatment.

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BREAK ME OFF A PIECE OF THAT TAX-BREAK PACKAGE

Congress is set to approve a two-year suspension of the 2.3% medical device excise tax originally instituted to help fund the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

YOU GET MORE FUNDING, YOU GET MORE FUNDING, EVERYBODY GETS MORE FUNDING

Not only would the package roll back the excise tax, it would also pump an additional $2 billion into the National Institutes of Health, benefitting organizations such as the Precision Medicine Initiative, Alzheimer’s research, the BRAIN initiative, and the fight against antibiotic resistance.

THE 411

Medical device companies have long reported that the tax hurt their bottom lines and forced them to eliminate jobs. A suspension would re-open pathways for R&D and continued medical progress. Perhaps this boost will pave the way for a drug that finally neutralizes all the calories we consumed over the holidays.

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KARMA'S A BITCH, BRO

While everyone from presidential candidates to AIDS activists have been calling for hedge-fund-manager-cum-pharmaceutical-company-owner Martin Shkreli to reverse the unprompted 55-fold price increase on toxoplasmosis drug Daraprim, he's been arrested on unrelated charges.

BRB... #LEGALPROBZ

Shkreli was arrested on fraud charges stemming from a series of Ponzi scheme-like botched investor relations, and promptly posted a $5 million bond. The 32-year-old often takes to Twitter and message boards to engage his haters, even responding to a critical tweet from Hillary Clinton with simply, "lol."

THE 411

Shkreli has a long history of sketchy investment deals and dodging consequences, which has apparently finally caught up with him. The Daraprim drama, which catapulted him into the public eye, remains TBD. Who’s lol’ing now?

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GOOD TO KNOW

As we head into 2016, take heart. The cardiovascular sector of the device industry fueled major growth in 2015. We can't be totally sure, but we think Adele's new album had something to do with it. #Hello





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