Funding recap: Y Combinator invests in virtual obesity clinic

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Here were five notable digital health funding deals from this week.

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Accelerator behind Airbnb and Instacart invests in digital health company offering GLP-1s

Y Combinator, the startup accelerator that helped produce Airbnb and Instacart, led a pre-seed funding round of $2.1 million for Alfie Health, a virtual obesity clinic. 

Alfie uses an artificial intelligence system to produce treatment recommendations and behavioral changes for patients. The recomendations are reviewed by clinicians, with the company relying on telehealth visits to track a patient’s progress. Treatment prescribed by Alfie’s clinicians may include popular glucagon-like peptide agnostics, or GLP-1 medications. 

Some GLP-1 medications, such as Novo Nordisk’s Wegovy and its diabetes drug Ozempic and Eli Lilly’s Trulicity, are facing supply shortages. In addition to GLP-1s, Alfie’s team prescribes weight loss medications including phentermine, topiramate, naltrexone, bupropion and metformin, the company said in a release. 

In recent months, a number of competitors have begun to prescribe GLP-1s via telehealth despite shortages of these medications. Payers have taken a cautious approach to handling rising demand for weight loss drugs whose list prices can surpass $13,600 per patient each year. 

Along with Y Combinator, investors in this round included Nina Capital, Goodwater Capital and the Phoenix Investment Club. 

Medicare Advantage-focused startup nabs $115M in funding

Author Health, a startup focused on serving Medicare Advantage members, received $115 million in funding from investors General Atlantic and Flare Capital Partners, the company said Wednesday.

Author provides telehealth and in-person care for Medicare Advantage members with serious mental illness and substance use disorders.

AI platform nabs $12M from Mount Sinai, UCSF and others

BeeKeeperAI, a healthcare artificial intelligence company, closed a $12 million Series A round on Tuesday.

Investors included the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and the University of California at San Francisco. BeeKeeperAI spun out of UCSF’s Center for Digital Health Innovation in 2022 and Dr. Michael Blum, former chief digital transformation officer at UCSF, is the company’s founder and CEO. 

BeeKeeperAI can help developers access real-world healthcare data and create AI algroithms in secure environments. Blum said in a release that the introduction of large language models in healthcare such as OpenAI’s ChatGPT has made it an ideal time for secure computing solutions. The company said it will use the funding to scale its EscrowAI software platform and ramp up commercialization. 

Along with Mount Sinai and UCSF, other investors were Sante Ventures, AIX Ventures, Continuum Health Ventures and TA Group Holdings.

Augmedics gets $82.5M in funding round for AR spinal surgery tool

The company said its series D financing will spur adoption and drive technical advances of its augmented reality surgical navigation system, xvision.

The system superimposes CT images of the patient’s spine onto the surgical field while surgeons are placing pedicle screws into the vertebrae.

Medical coding startup closes seed round

AvoMD, a software company focused on medical coding, closed a $5 million seed funding round. 

The company’s platform allows clinicians and hospitals to build applications that work for different specialties and care settings. AvoMD integrates with electronic health record software systems. Last September, it announced an integration with Epic.

Early-stage venture fund AlleyCorp led the round with support from Las Olas, Epsilon Health and MedMountain Ventures. Other investors in the company include Columbia University, Mount Sinai Innovation Partners, StartUp Health and 500 Startups.

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