UnitedHealth’s big bet on the business of going to the doctor


Welcome to Insider Healthcare. I’m Lydia Ramsey Pflanzer, and this week in healthcare news:

If you’re new to this newsletter, sign up here. Tips, comments? Email me at lramsey@insider.com or tweet @lydiaramsey125. Let’s get to it…

Coming up today, a group of CDC advisors will discuss their recommendations for what comes next for Johnson & Johnson’s COVID-19 vaccine.

Insider’s Hilary Brueck spoke to five of the experts voting on the fate of the vaccine.

They said they’re eager to end the pause and may ask that a warning be added for women.

Wyatt Decker, CEO of OptumHeath
OptumHealth CEO Wyatt Decker

Building a $100 billion business

UnitedHealth is on its way to building a $100 billion business around going to the doctor.

Shelby Livingston spoke with Dr. Wyatt Decker, the CEO of OptumHealth, who’s in charge of building that unit, about how virtual care will play a role, and what comes next.

Growing the business would cement UnitedHealth even further as a massive player in delivering medical care.

Here’s how>>

The CEO of UnitedHealth’s sprawling health-clinic business shared how transforming the way doctors get paid will help it notch $100 billion in revenue

Walmart Health
A Walmart Health clinic with counseling, labs, optometry, primary care, dental, and hearing services.

Key healthcare departures at Walmart

Blake Dodge and Shelby have been keeping tabs on Walmart’s healthcare strategy after reporting in February that the retail giant’s clinic strategy was in flux.

This week, they took a look at all the leaders leaders involved in the original plans for the clinics who have departed, including the upcoming departure of Walmart’s chief medical officer.

We mapped out who left>>

Walmart’s healthcare leaders are exiting the company as it taps the brakes on an ambitious clinic rollout

Moderna vaccine
Biotechnology company Moderna protocol files for COVID-19 vaccinations are kept at the Research Centers of America in Hollywood, Florida, on August 13, 2020.

New science could help solve biotech’s thorniest challenges

This week, our reporters also spent some time looking at the potential future of biotech.

Andrew Dunn pinpointed 5 takeaways from Walter Isaacson’s best-selling book on Jennifer Doudna, the pioneering scientist who won a Nobel Prize for discovering CRISPR – including what ethical questions now face the cutting-edge gene-editing tool.

Meanwhile, Patricia Kelly Yeo took a closer look at the plans Moderna’s laid out to develop an HIV vaccine.

After the success of Moderna’s COVID-19 vaccine, it’s possible the biotech could chart a new path toward a vaccine that’s eluded researches for decades.

There’s a long road ahead>>

Moderna’s mRNA technology could help in the decades-long search for an HIV vaccine

Finally, here’s what’s happening with healthcare startups this week:

– Lydia

Read the original article on Business Insider

Change Healthcare surges 32% after news of $8 billion acquisition by UnitedHealth

FILE PHOTO: The corporate logo of the UnitedHealth Group appears on the side of one of their office buildings in Santa Ana, California, U.S., April 13, 2020.      REUTERS/Mike Blake
The corporate logo of the UnitedHealth Group appears on the side of one of their office buildings in Santa Ana, California

Shares of Change Healthcare gained as much as 32% to $24 a share on Wednesday after news that UnitedHealth Group is acquiring the health tech firm for roughly $7.8 billion.

After the acquisition, Change Healthcare will merge with UnitedHealth Group’s health services subsidiary, OptumInsight. Together the companies will connect and simplify core clinical, administrative, and payment processes for the healthcare industry, according to a UnitedHealth statement

UnitedHealth will pay $25.75 per share in cash, which is a 41% premium over Change Healthcare’s Tuesday closing price of $18.24.  Including debt owed by Change Healthcare, the deal is worth around $13 billion. The companies said the transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2021. 

Shares of UnitedHealth group fell as much as 2.8% after the Wednesday opening bell but pared back the losses. The stock is now hovering around $347 a share. As of noon on Wednesday, Change Healthcare has gained 51% over the last 12 months. 

Read more:Fundstrat’s Tom Lee says to buy these 10 transportation stocks that were the hardest hit by the pandemic and are most leveraged for the economy’s reopening in 2021

“Together we will help streamline and inform the vital clinical, administrative and payment processes on which health care providers and payers depend to serve patients,” said Andrew Witty, President of UnitedHealth Group and CEO of Optum.

In other healthcare merger news, Walgreens Boots Alliance agreed to sell the majority of its pharmacy wholesale unit to AmerisourceBergen Corp for about $6.5 billion. 

Shares of Walgreens Boots Alliance rose as much as 4.39%, while Amerisource Bergen gained as much as 8.7% on Wednesday. 

Read the original article on Business Insider