BridgeHealth Merges with Transcarent; Completes $40 Million Series A Funding

Combined entity will create a better experience and improved outcomes for employees and dependents of self-insured employers by providing greater access, choice, and transparency

BridgeHealth, the industry-leading provider of surgical advocacy and centers of excellence (COE) programs for large, self-insured organizations and their members, today announced a merger with Transcarent, a Silicon Valley-based consumer digital health company, as part of a $40 million Series A financing round. BridgeHealth will continue to provide its platform to employers with self-insured group health plans while introducing new high-touch, high-tech navigation services and solutions built using the Transcarent technology stack.

BridgeHealth, founded in 2007, helps members identify high-quality healthcare providers, including many of the country’s leading Centers of Excellence who perform high-quality surgeries at affordable, bundled rates. The company has developed the largest footprint of COEs in the market. With more than 300 pre-negotiated, contracted bundles covering procedures across eight surgical categories, members realize transparency, cost savings, and real choice in making their most important healthcare decisions.

“By partnering with BridgeHealth, Transcarent will be able to greatly accelerate our vision of putting health and care back in the hands of health consumers and enabling them to share in the value their decisions help to create,” said Krishnan Sridharan, President of Transcarent. “Together, our goal is nothing less than to transform healthcare and create a new and different experience that leads to better outcomes and lower costs for employees, dependents, and their employers.”

Transcarent, backed by 7wireVentures, Alta Partners, and General Catalyst, offers a technology layer that provides more choice and transparency, and addresses a broader range of health and care challenges people face in today’s confusing, complex, and costly healthcare system.

“We are thrilled to join forces with such an exceptional team of innovative healthcare entrepreneurs, investors, and thought leaders,” said Jamie Hall, President and CEO of BridgeHealth. “Together with Transcarent, BridgeHealth will continue to deliver great healthcare experiences for the people we serve and measurable value to our plan sponsors while we begin to significantly expand our solutions to the market.”

“Since its inception, BridgeHealth’s vision has been to support individuals with the best possible healthcare at their most vulnerable moments,” said David Calone, co-founder and outgoing Board Chair of BridgeHealth, and Director of Transcarent. “When we started the company, we focused on empowering consumers who needed planned surgeries, knowing that the future of healthcare depended on expanding this value to more people across more of their healthcare choices. We are excited to partner with Transcarent; their leadership and investors bring significant expertise and capital to our shared vision for transforming healthcare.”

To learn more about BridgeHealth visit online at www.bridgehealth.com.

About BridgeHealth

BridgeHealth (www.bridgehealth.com) is a provider of value-based healthcare services that guide members to surgical Centers of Excellence nationwide. Its bundled rates allow self-insured group health plans to improve the quality and outcomes of surgery while reducing costs from 30% to 50% on average per procedure. Members are supported through concierge-level care coordination, eliminating the stress of planning and preparing for

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Be Biopharma Launches with $52 Million Series A Financing to Advance B Cells as Medicines

— Creating new category of cellular medicines —

Be Biopharma (“Be Bio”), a leader in developing B cells as medicines, founded by Longwood Fund, David Rawlings, MD, and Richard James, PhD, today announced a $52 million Series A financing led by Atlas Venture and RA Capital Management and joined by Alta Partners, Longwood Fund and Takeda Ventures, Inc. The company plans to use this funding to precisely engineer B cells to treat a range of diseases, building on the pioneering work of Drs. Rawlings and James at Seattle Children’s Research Institute. B cells are prolific protein producers that can be collected from peripheral blood, have a programmable lifetime that could last decades, can target specific tissues, and have broad, customizable functionality.

This press release features multimedia. View the full release here: https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20201022005158/en/

David Steinberg, CEO, co-founder & director, Be Bio; general partner, Longwood Fund (Photo: Business Wire)

“Be Bio is capitalizing on the unique attributes of B cells to create a new category of medicine that is distinct from traditional cell or gene therapy,” said David Steinberg, Chief Executive Officer, co-founder and Director, Be Biopharma and General Partner, Longwood Fund. “B cells can be engineered to express a wide variety of proteins, have the potential to generate durable responses, and can be dose-titrated and administered multiple times without the need for toxic preconditioning. Moreover, the varied functions of B cells suggest that B cell medicines can address a range of conditions including autoimmune diseases, cancer, and monogenic disorders, as well as enhance the immune response to infectious pathogens. We believe Be Bio is at the forefront of a new approach to fighting disease.”

“B cells play a key role in combatting diseases by catalyzing humoral immunity – the arm of the immune system that manufactures large quantities of proteins to neutralize disease-causing pathogens and manipulate immune cell behavior,” said Be Biopharma co-founder David Rawlings, MD, Director, Center for Immunity and Immunotherapies, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington School of Medicine. “Today, this powerful part of the immune system is only passively and/or indirectly addressed therapeutically. Our ambition is to advance the field by building a new class of engineered B cell medicines that will provide direct control over the power of humoral immunity and help transform the prognosis for patients who currently have limited treatment options.”

In addition to Rawlings, James and Steinberg, Be Bio’s co-founders are Aleks Radovic-Moreno, PhD, President and Director, and Lea Hachigian, PhD, with Longwood Fund. The Board of Directors also includes Josh Resnick, MD, MBA, Managing Director, RA Capital Management; Jason Rhodes, Partner, Atlas Venture; and Dan Janney, MBA, Managing Partner, Alta Partners.

Be Biopharma’s Scientific Advisory Board consists of David Rawlings MD; Richard James, PhD, Principal Investigator, Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Associate Professor, Department of Pediatrics, University of Washington, as well as Frances Eun-Hyung Lee, MD, an Asthma, Allergy, and Immunology physician and researcher in Atlanta, GA; Shiv Pillai, MD, PhD, Professor, Harvard Medical School, Investigator

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Apple Watch Series 6 Beats Garmin’s Fenix 6 Pro For Fitness Tracking In One Important Way

A Garmin runner’s watch like the Fenix 6 Pro Solar is an obvious choice if you want a wearable to track runs, walks and bike rides. But does it really do the job better than an Apple Watch Series 6?

I decided to test these watches’ heart rate sensors in the context of a run. An Apple Watch on one wrist, a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar on the other, and a Wahoo Tickr HR strap around the chest, acting as a control for this not-quite-scientific test.

Here are the results over a roughly 7km run, one dotted with breaks and slow-downs to see how the trackers cope with sharp changes in effort. The Garmin is the red line, the Apple Watch Series 6 the blue line and the Wahoo Tickr the green.

The most obvious fault here is the Wahoo Tickr chest strap’s. Or, to be fair, my own. Its readings are all patchy and intermittent at the first increase in pace, most likely because the strap wasn’t quite tight enough to start.

However, it is otherwise the most accurate of the three. And I’ve left the first few minutes of tracking in this graph to highlight the main wearable takeaway.

The Apple Watch Series 6 starts off from a much better position than the Garmin Fenix 6 Pro, whose results are too high. This is a common observation of Garmins and wearables in general: their HR tracking algorithms tend to assume your heart rate will be far above your resting rate as soon as you begin tracking an exercise.

If you start the session as you warm-up, it will not be. The Apple Watch Series 6’s readings are very accurate from the first seconds onwards.

This issue with lower heart rate readings continues throughout the run. In each decrease in pace, or outright stop in the case of the deepest dip in the graph, the Apple Watch Series 6 tightly matches the lowest reading recorded by the Wahoo Tickr chest strap. But the Garmin’s are all routinely slightly higher.

MORE FROM FORBESGarmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar: Check Out Its 48 Exercise Modes And Fitness Features

The Garmin Fenix 6 Pro shows significantly higher readings during the cool-down too, aside from an aberrant blip at the end where the recorded rate drops, and then compensates with an artificially high peak.

Apple’s Watch Series 6 only failed to keep up, slightly, with the Tickr when I went from running to sitting on a bench, to cause a very steep fall in heart rate. The Apple and Garmin’s falls are similarly cliff-like, but not as steep as the Tickr’s.

The Apple Watch Series 6’s heart rate hardware is superb, obviating the need for a chest strap, for most people. There is another side to this story, though.

To

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Apple Watch Series 6 vs. Fitbit Sense: Health, fitness and smartwatch features compared


The Apple Watch Series 6 and Fitbit Sense are top smartwatches that can help keep an eye on your fitness levels and act as a phone alternative on your wrist. Both also have an electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG — Apple uses ECG) app, track workouts, sleep and blood oxygen levels, but they’re different in the way they go about doing these things. To help you decide which is right for you, I’ve compared them on everything from fitness tracking to battery life and overall performance.


If you have an Android phone, the Fitbit is your only option, but both work with iOS devices, making the decision trickier if you have an iPhone. After two weeks of wearing these watches, I can tell you that there is no one-size-fits-all option. If you want the best overall smartwatch, with seamless fitness tracking and safety features, get the $399 (£379, AU$599) Apple Watch. If you want the most robust sleep tracking, temperature sensor and the best battery life, get the $329 (£299, AU$499) Fitbit Sense.

Lexy Savvides/CNET

The latest Apple Watch has a robust set of fitness tracking features, an FDA-cleared ECG, blood oxygen tracking and all the responsiveness you could want from a smartwatch. It’s also the better option if you need built-in LTE to use your watch without your iPhone nearby.

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Lexy Savvides/CNET

The Fitbit Sense also offers an FDA-cleared ECG, strong sleep tracking, a temperature sensor and a stress tracking sensor. Unlike the Apple Watch, it also works with Android, has plenty of third-party watch faces to choose from, and offers the better battery life of the two watches.


Both are comfortable to wear, with familiar designs


The Series 6 looks like every other Apple Watch that has come before it, with a square face available in two sizes (either 40 or 44mm) plus a digital crown and side button. The Sense looks like a higher-end Versa and comes in just one 40mm size with a stainless steel rim around the square face, but instead of a physical button, it has an indentation on the side that vibrates when pressed and can be used to control the screen. While the Fitbit is physically larger than the 40mm Apple Watch, the actual screen size is only a hair bigger than the Apple Watch because of the bezels. The Apple Watch also has bezels around the screen, although they’re slimmer than those on the Sense.


Each watch has a color, always-on screen that’s easy to see in broad daylight, although I found the Apple Watch takes the edge for overall brightness when glancing down at my wrist during an outdoor workout. 


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The Sense has many more watch faces to choose from than the Apple Watch, including third-party ones. However, you can further customize some Apple Watch faces to include complications, which are similar to shortcuts: They can display

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Future raises $24M Series B for its $150/mo workout coaching app amid at-home fitness boom

With thousands of gyms across the country forced to close during the pandemic, there’s been an unprecedented opportunity for fitness companies pitching an at-home solution. This moment has propelled public companies like Peloton to stratospheric highs — its market cap is about to eclipse $40 billion — but it has also pushed venture capitalists toward plenty of deals in the fitness space.

Future launched with a bold sell for consumers: a $150 per month subscription app that virtually teamed users with a real-life fitness coach. Leaning on the health-tracking capabilities of the Apple Watch, the startup has been aiming to build a platform that teams motivation, accountability and fitness insights.



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Close to 18 months after announcing a Series A led by Kleiner Perkins, the startup tells TechCrunch they’ve closed a $24 million Series B led by Trustbridge Partners, with Caffeinated Capital and Kleiner Perkins participating again.

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Amid the at-home fitness boom, Future has seen major growth of its own. CEO Rishi Mandal says that the company’s growth rate has tripled in recent months as thousands of gyms closed their doors. He says shelter-in-place has merely accelerated an ongoing shift toward tech-forward fitness services that can help busy users find time during their day to exercise.

The operating thesis of the company is that modern life is inherently crazy not just during pandemic times but in normal times,” Mandal says. “The idea of having a set routine is a complete fallacy.”

At $149 per month, Future isn’t aiming for mass market appeal the same way other digital fitness programs being produced by Peloton, Fitbit or Apple are. It seems to be more squarely aimed at users who could be a candidate for getting a personal trainer but might not be ready to make the investment or don’t need the guided instruction so much as they need general guidelines and some accountability.

As the startup closes on more funding, the team has big goals to expand its network. Mandal aims to have 1,000 coaches on the Future platform by this time next year. Reaching new scales could give the service a chance to tackle new challenges. Mandal sees opportunities for Future to expand its coaching services beyond fitness as it grows, “There’s a real opportunity to help people with all aspects of their health.”

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