Digital health M&A in Q3 2020 dominated by a single industry-changing acquisition


While the third quarter of 2020 may not be remembered for its volume of M&A deals, it will likely be bookmarked as a clear example of front-runner consolidation within digital health. 

Over the last three months, MobiHealthNews tracked and covered only nine confirmed M&A deals, plus one credibly reported acquisition (not counting deals involving special purpose acquisition companies [SPACs], which in practice are more akin to IPOs). 

The easy frontrunner among these is Teladoc Health’s big ticket acquisition of Livongo, two giants in the telehealth and digital chronic disease management spaces, respectively. It was a deal that, at least for one of Livongo’s primary investors, will build an entity that could serve as a model for digital health’s eventual role within the broader healthcare ecosystem.

“You will have a $35, $40 billion market cap virtual health system that’s taking care of millions of people in this country that looks and feels like a high-margin software company that is going very fast,” Hemant Taneja, managing director of General Catalyst, recently told MobiHealthNews.

“You want to see vibrant healthcare services companies that can then pour resources into bending the cost curve, investing in the right consumer experiences. To me, hopefully, this is a blueprint of what’s to come. When you think about the fact this is 20% of GDP, you should have dozens of companies of this size and scale and growth, and compounding in the space.”

While the $18.5 billion acquisition commanded the most headlines, the quarter also had a couple deal announcements that we know to be in the range of hundreds of millions, or even over a billion. See below for a list of those MobiHealthNews covered in the quarter, descending in order from size or time of announcement (in the case of those with undisclosed price tags).

Teladoc Health absorbs chronic care company Livongo. In what was the biggest digital health M&A deal of the quarter (and almost certainly the calendar year), in August, digital health titans Teladoc Health and Livongo announced plans to merge under the Teladoc name. The deal valued Livongo at about $18.5 billion, with Teladoc primarily purchasing the chronic care company with shares. 

The deal is expected to close by the end of 2020, and see Teladoc shareholders owning 58% of the combined company. The companies said that their combined annual revenue would be coming in at $1.3 billion, and that their platforms and services would be integrated in an effort to provide new “whole person care” offerings.

UnitedHealth Group reportedly scoops up digital pharmacy DivvyDose. UnitedHealth Group has stepped into the digital pharmacy space with the acquisition of DivvyDose, according to a CNBC report from late September that has yet to be confirmed by the companies. The deal was estimated to run in the neighborhood of $300 million. It would bring the payer a virtual pharmacy service that could be used to better serve its members. 

Otsuka scoops up Proteus’ remaining assets, debts. Otsuka’s $15 million bid to purchase bankrupt “digital pill” developer Proteus Digital Health’s remaining assets was challenged by Novartis, former Proteus executives and other investors, who argued that the price tag was too low. A federal bankruptcy court approved the purchase in mid-August. Otsuka was the only bidder for the assets, and with this inherits the digital health company’s outstanding debts. 

Curavi Health, CarePointe and U.S. Health Systems merge to form Arkos Health. The three health tech startups and spinouts are combining their efforts to become a single entity focused on delivering virtual-care products and population health insights for seniors. Specifically, CarePointe and USHS will be responsible for handling care coordination while Curavi will continue deliver remote-care programs to Arkos Health’s customers. Each will act as a wholly owned subsidiary of Arkos, and their executive teams will be merged. 

Sharecare picks up WhiteHatAI. Sharecare, a digital patient engagement company, announced in late July that it is purchasing WhiteHatAI, which focuses on using artificial intelligence to address healthcare payments. The plan is for WhiteHatAI’s technology to be integrated so that Sharecare’s payer and provider partners will be able to better identify fraud, waste and abuse. Providers will also be able to use the new tech in order to extract unstructured clinical data from medical charters, while patients would be able to use an app to verify certain procedures and answer questions about their satisfaction and experience.

U.K.-based telehealth platform HealthHero acquires In August, European telehealth and care connection platform HealthHero launched alongside news that it would be acquiring German medical consultation service The newly acquired company facilitates prescription delivery by having patients fill out a medical questionnaire that is reviewed by a doctor. While that service is consumer facing, HealthHero has primarily targeted its new offering at insurance companies and employers.

Medtronic plans to buy connected insulin-pen startup Companion Medical. Medical device company Medtronic announced its plans to buy Companion Medical, a company best known for an insulin pen that integrates a companion app called the InPen. Estimated to close around October, the deal would see the InPen fall in line with the rest of Medtronic’s diabetes portfolio, which includes continuous glucose monitoring technology and some diet management startups that it acquired in years past. 

Digital Diagnostics acquires dermatology-focused startup 3Derm. Autonomous AI platform Digital Diagnostics, previously known as IDx, announced that it has purchased 3Derm Systems in a move that would expand its reach into the dermatology space. The former company previously made its mark with an AI tool for detection of diabetic retinopathy, while the latter is currently prepping a skin cancer detection product for FDA clearance. 

Sonde Health acquires NeuroLex Laboratories. Sonde Health, a PureTech Health spinout focused on vocal biomarkers for various health conditions, picked up voice-based survey-platform-maker NeuroLex Laboratories in late August. Their announcement highlighted the R&D benefits of a combined voice-sample dataset, a roughly 80,000-person strong collection which the companies consider to be “one of the world’s preeminent biobanks focused on vocal biomarkers.” Sonde’s acquisition of the web-based surveying tool’s infrastructure will also allow the company to better implement its early screening technology across more devices and platforms.

ConsumerMedical buys fellow second opinions company InfiniteMD. Both companies focused on using virtual consultation technologies to provide expert medical support to practitioners and second opinions to patients. This acquisition will merge the technology of InfiniteMD and Consumer Medical. The companies described the acquisition as a play to expand the geographical footprint of their businesses. 

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