Morning Read: UAW proposes healthcare Co-Op, Novartis launches first biosimilar drug in US to …

copy biosimilar drugsTOP STORIES

Perhaps with a view to the Cadillac Tax on the horizon, the United Auto Workers Union is floating the idea of a healthcare Co-Op to the three largest car makers. The joint purchasing group would cover factory and white-collar workers as well as union-affiliated retirees. It could have as many as 1 million members, which would give it considerable buying power with hospitals. — The Wall Street Journal

Novartis has launched its first biosimilar drug to improve white blood cell counts in cancer and rheumatoid arthritis patients. — Reuters

LIFE SCIENCES

Todd Cozzens has left Sequoia Capital to launch a direct investment fund for healthcare i-bank Leerink Partners. He had worked for Sequoia since 2012 as firm’s first-ever hire in the Boston area. — Fortune

HeartWare International Inc. (Nasdaq: HTWR) has agreed to acquire Valtech Cardio an Israel-based provider of surgical and transcatheter valve repair and replacement devices in a deal valued at more than $860 million, including an upfront stock payment valued at around $360 million. — Fortune

Lab analytics business Medivo sold its lab testing authorization services unit to PWNHealth, a new company EDG Partners has formed. The company is led by Sanjay Pingle. Among Medivo’s shareholders are Merck Global Health Innovation, MentorTech Ventures and Safeguard Scientifics. — Medivo

PAYERS-PROVIDERS

Partners HealthCare Chief Information Security and Privacy Officer Jigar Kadakia was asked in an interview what his toughest security challenge is.

The toughest security problem is getting people to understand. It’s the same issue we had five years ago; it’s going to be the same issue five years from now. People are educated, but they just think they’re not going to get phished, they’re not going to get hacked. But they need to understand, they will get hacked; they will get phished. Teaching them on how not to do it, or how to prevent it is the core issue.   Healthcare IT News

Holyoke Medical Center in Western Massachusetts, a 198 bed facility, has selected QPID Health to identify behavioral health patients at risk for readmissions and repeated emergency visits. —QPID Health

TECH

Voalte, which developed a hospital communication tool designed for care teams, has raised $17 million to sustain its growth. Among the investors in the Series D round were Ascension Ventures, Cerner Capital, the venture investment arm of Cerner Corp. and Bedford Funding. Voalte has raised nearly $60 million in three years. — Voalte

1776, a startup incubator that has connected with startups in cities around the world, announced the final closing of its $12.5 million Seed Fund. The goal will focus on on investments in pre-Series A startups with the potential to disrupt highly regulated industries like health, as well as education, energy, transportation, and smart cities.  — 1776

The Science Center in Philadelphia is accepting applications from early stage digital health companies for its second Digital Health Accelerator class. If accepted, startups receive up to $50,000 in funding, office space at the Science Center’s shared workspace ic@3401, mentorship and introductions to healthcare stakeholders such as insurers, pharmaceutical companies, hospital and research institutions located in and around Philadelphia. For more detailed information and to apply, follow this link: to www.sciencecenter.org/programs/dha. — Science Center

Kinsa has closed a Kickstarter campaign to support the roll out of a smart ear thermometer. It’s the second thermometer it has developed following its FDA cleared Smart Stick. But unlike its first device, the Smart Ear Thermometer combines temperature readings with symptom tracking and steps on what to do next. The company had demonstrated an interest in using shared data from its thermometers to draw attention to illnesses going around schools and to make it easier for parents and schools to track. — Kinsa

POLITICS

Hillary Clinton has proposed a $7.5 billion U.S. fund to combat alcohol and drug addiction. — Reuters

The Office of the National Coordinator has ended certification for Platinum Health Information System’s SkyCare 4.2 products for the Medicare and Medicaid EHR Incentive Programs. The company failed to respond and participate in routine surveillance requests by InfoGard Laboratories Inc, an ONC authorized certification body. — HIStalk

Photo: Flickr user bettyx1138

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