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2016 Year in Review

December 14th, 2016
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It’s been quite a year for healthcare. In 2016, we witnessed patients access care through the palms of their hands, providers increasingly use data to drive decision-making, and we reached an inflection point for genomics as consumers, providers, and other stakeholders increasingly became aware of the field and its role in healthcare.

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Immunic Acquires 4SC’s Immunology Portfolio

November 14th, 2016
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After announcing the the closure of Series A funding with $19.6 million, Immunic recently acquired 4SC’s immunology portfolio. The acquisition adds two promising drug development programs to the biotech startup’s portfolio to treat immune and autoimmune diseases.

Founded in 2016 by Manfred Groppel and Popper’s senior advisor, Dr. Andreas Muehler, Immunic develops pharmaceuticals in the immunology space, in particular for autoimmune diseases or diseases that have an important immunology component in their pathogenesis.

We are excited about the potential impact of this acquisition which will start with a clinical study involving Crohn’s patients, and are continuing to track these and other developments at the intersection of biotechnology and immunology.

Read more about the acquisition.


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Solving the Value Equation for Molecular Diagnostics

November 1st, 2016
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Idea Bulb Concept Drawing on Blackboard

In this special blog post, we share insights from national genomics reimbursement expert and former Medicare medical director, Dr. Bruce Quinn, on how to create and capture value in precision medicine.

As medicine continues to become more personalized, the biggest challenges to the precision medicine market aren’t scientific, they’re economic. These barriers are drawing more attention – from payers such as United Healthcare urging MDx reimbursement reform to healthcare systems such as Cleveland Clinic which presented several views of payment redesign at their 2016 Medical Innovation Summit. A recent GenomeWeb article by Monica Heger echoed this sentiment, citing the need for partnerships and novel regulatory structures to address challenges with diagnostic test development, reimbursement, and regulation.

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Conference Roundup: The Year for Diagnostics

September 7th, 2016
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The global molecular diagnostics market continues to grow and change at a rapid pace. Danaher’s recent announcement that they are building their diagnostics portfolio by acquiring Cepheid is just the latest example. Several trends are driving this growth including changes in clinical practice, innovations in technology, and a changing regulatory environment aimed at promoting point-of-care diagnostics.

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Making the Case for Smarter Healthcare

July 27th, 2016
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In a conceptual model of healthcare originally proposed by William Kissick, MD, there are three competing issues that enter into any dialogue on how to improve our healthcare system. The three sides of this Iron Triangle of Healthcare are quality, access, and cost. Constant trade-offs have to be made since the classic approach to health economics dictates that you can improve any one – or perhaps even two – of these elements, but only at the expense of the third.

The model states that you can advance the quality of a product or service, making it better for a higher price. Or you can create a lower cost alternative for as many people as possible, but that inevitably means that quality suffers. Each choice has its own set of sociopolitical implications that must be weighed against each other.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Agilent makes investment in Lasergen

March 8th, 2016
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Agilent is investing $80 million in our client Lasergen, an emerging biotechnology company with innovative next-generation sequencing (NGS) technology. The two companies will collaborate on building a NGS solutions workflow for clinical applications, based on Lasergen’s Lightning Terminators™ sequencing chemistry.

This recent investment showcases the trend toward new players and innovative technology in the NGS space, particularly as the technology moves to more routine clinical use.

Lasergen’s relationship with Agilent is another example of how Popper and Company helps companies create transformative business partnerships.



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Diversigen, Baylor Miraca Form Partnership

February 26th, 2016
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The recent partnership between Diversigen and Baylor Miraca Genetics highlights the importance of both human genetics and the microbiome in drug development and ultimately in clinical decision making.

We are in the early days of understanding the scope of the impact of the microbiome but we already know of powerful associations in diseases as diverse as inflammatory bowel disease, diabetes and cancer.

We are excited about this partnership as it leverages real technical and interpretive expertise across across a broad array of genomes relevant to human health.

Read more about their partnership.

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Popper and Company Ponderings on the Year Ahead in Healthcare

December 22nd, 2014
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At this time of year, many folks look back at the year that was. And indeed 2014 was an interesting year in healthcare.

We, however, prefer to look forward. Every fortuneteller brings her point of view to table. We do, too! We believe that healthcare can be improved by taking a macro and a micro view…one innovation at a time…but always focusing on improving overall efficiency and increasing customer satisfaction. Healthcare is rapidly adopting the imperatives of other markets…so maybe it’s not such a unique industry after all!

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New Biology Fosters New Business Partnerships

November 6th, 2014
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You may have read the announcement this week of the joint venture between the preeminent medical genetics lab of Baylor College of Medicine and Japan-based Miraca, a holding company operating in the healthcare sector.

I am delighted to have had the opportunity to shape the strategy for this relationship and look forward to rolling up my sleeves and helping with the implementation.

Why do I think this is so exciting and interesting?

Through this venture, world-class academic science meets the commercialization capacity of a global multinational business organization.

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Johns Hopkins mHealth Report Shows Technology’s Impact in Developing Countries

October 20th, 2014
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My friend Alain Labrique, director of the Johns Hopkins University (JHU) Global mHealth Initiative, recently issued the initiative’s 2014 Annual Report, and I’m not at all embarrassed to share my initial response upon opening it:


From its work with Maiti Nepal to use mobile technology to prevent human trafficking; to improving maternal health by providing remote education, advice and services; to collaborating with policy leaders in South Asia to enable evidence-based mhealth innovations – all 130 projects supported by the initiative are inspiring. The JHU report provides proof that digital and mobile technologies can indeed help resolve what had been seen as intractable health problems, in resource-constrained countries. For infectious disease, nutrition, and social issues that are enormous problems in the developing world, digital tools can enable fundamental epidemiology research, and begin to overcome persistent problems of unequal access to healthcare.

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