We’re on the brink of a 3rd US COVID-19 vaccine


It’s snowy again here in Denver, just in time for the East Coast to get a break. My dog is loving it, and I wish I was tech-savvy enough to include videos in emails. You’ll have to just imagine a 70-pound pup bounding through a foot of snow. 

This week, we’ve gotten promising news about vaccines and taken a closer look at when founder relationships fall apart and one-time kingmakers’ futures become more uncertain. We also took stock of what’s coming next for virtual-care providers and gene therapy companies

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johnson and johnson covid vaccine
Johnson & Johnson’s coronavirus vaccine is delivered as a single shot, while both Pfizer and Moderna’s require two jabs.

We’re on the brink of another vaccine authorization

There’s a lot of vaccine news to be optimistic about this week. 

As Aylin Woodward reported, the more data we get, the more it seems vaccinated people aren’t spreading the coronavirus. That’s been a big unanswered question, since clinical trials have focused on whether vaccines prevent people from getting sick with COVID-19 rather than whether they’re transmitting it. 

There’s also more data in the debate over delaying second vaccine doses, Andrew Dunn reports.

He spoke with experts this week about data out of Scotland’s vaccine rollout showing that protection starts to drop after five weeks of receiving the first dose. That suggests delaying second doses is a bad idea.

“I think delaying the second dose for a considerable period of time is a mistake,” Dr. Paul Offit, the director of the Vaccine Education Center at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, told Andrew.

Meanwhile, Moderna and Pfizer are both gearing up to test booster shots to combat variants.

Finally, we’re preparing for another vaccine authorization in the US as Johnson & Johnson’s one-dose shot goes up for review. 

A Food and Drug Administration expert panel is meeting today to hash out the evidence on the safety and effectiveness of the shot. 

If authorized, the US would have three vaccines at its disposal, speeding up the time it might take to get the country vaccinated, Aria Bendix reports. 

Hilary Brueck has a closer look at how the three shots – Moderna’s, Pfizer/BioNTech’s, and J&J’s – compare

Want a closer look at the evidence presented for J&J’s coronavirus vaccine? Andrew took a deep dive into FDA documents released Wednesday.

Of note, here’s a chart of how well the vaccine works. 

Read the full story here>>

One simple chart shows how well J&J’s single-dose coronavirus vaccine works, with protection starting after 2 weeks

comcast building
Comcast sign logo in the wall of a building at Universal Studios.

When things fall apart

This week, our colleague Melia Russell published an important look at what happened between mental health startup Modern Health’s cofounders. 

It’s a look at what happens when founder relationships go south, but also the pressure that can face young companies looking to strike big deals in healthcare. 

You can read the full investigation here>>

In the vein of when things start to unravel, Megan Hernbroth has the story of one-time healthcare benefits kingmaker Comcast Ventures.

Its future in healthcare is uncertain, she learned. 

Read the full story here>>

Comcast Ventures became an unlikely benefits-startup kingmaker with a prescient bet on Accolade. Now, the fund’s healthcare future is uncertain after investing-team members exited.

Oscar Health CEO Mario Schlosser
Oscar Health CEO Mario Schlosser

Money is pouring into upstarts trying to change the way healthcare is paid for

It’s a good time to be a company looking to change how healthcare is paid for. 

In 2020, investors poured $3.6 billion into companies focused on new ways to pay for care – both insurers and providers.

Included among the funding total – a fresh $380 million Devoted Health quietly raised, Blake Dodge and Shelby Livingston report. 

Also included is Oscar Health, which is set to go public. In an update to its IPO filing, the company said it’s looking to raise roughly $1 billion at a valuation of $8.2 billion. 

But it’s not all smooth sailing. Dr. Atul Gawande, the one-time CEO of now-shuttered Haven, spoke candidly about his experience in a February interview with the UCSF School of Medicine. 

In it, he offered the most detailed remarks to date on why Amazon’s health venture with JPMorgan and Berkshire Hathaway fell apart. A system of employer-funded healthcare here in the US is at the center of it. 

Blake took a look at the biggest backers involved in the record funding year for so-called “value-based care” startups. 

Read the full story here>>

Startups trying to change the way healthcare is paid for pulled in a record $3.6 billion in 2020. Meet the top 8 VC firms that placed the most bets.

What’s coming next

I’ll leave you with a few notable trends our team picked up on this week. 

Thoughts? Tips? Reach me at lramsey@businessinsider.com, and you can reach the whole healthcare team at healthcare@businessinsider.com

– Lydia

Read the original article on Business Insider

What you need to know about J&J’s coronavirus vaccine


Yesterday was a big day in vaccine news. We learned more about how well Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine works and how safe it is. And we also learned that Moderna has a plan for tackling variants. That includes a new shot it’s sending to NIH for testing.  

Here’s a look at how J&J’s shot compares to Pfizer’s and Moderna’s>>

Also in healthcare news: What happened to Comcast Ventures, a onetime healthcare startup kingmaker, the companies gene therapy leaders may need to help fix safety issues, and Devoted Health quietly raised $380 million in 2020

comcast building
Comcast sign logo in the wall of a building at Universal Studios.

Comcast Ventures was once a kingmaker for healthcare benefits startups. Then its team fell apart.

Read the full story from Megan Hernbroth here>>

A dispensing chemist prepares drugs for a chemotherapy treatment in a sterile room at Antoine-Lacassagne Cancer Centre.

Gene therapy leaders may need M&A to solve their safety issues. Here are the 8 companies analysts are watching.

Read the full list from Allison DeAngelis here>>

Todd Park
Devoted Health co-founder and executive chairman Todd Park.

Devoted Health quietly raised $380 million to gear up for fierce competition in the red-hot health-plan market for older people

Read the full scoop from Blake Dodge and Shelby Livingston here>>

More stories we’re reading:

– Lydia

Read the original article on Business Insider