“We need to wage a war on Alzheimer’s, just as we did with cancer." — Meryl Comer, CEO of Geoffrey Beene Foundation Alzheimer's Initiative
- Alzheimer's research in the heartland
- Podcast: Data, kidney donors, puppies, and logistics
- Health startups booming in Minnesota
- Indy co. makes big healthcare impact
- Pittsburgh: Hotbed of VC investments
- Fueling the Future
- Name that Flyover City!
November 12, 2020
Alzheimer’s research in the heartland
By Atthapon Raksthaput for Shutterstock
Researchers in Flyover Country are working hard to come up with treatments and a cure for Alzheimer’s. It’s a devastating problem, with over 5.8 million Americans suffering from it and another 1.4 million with a similar condition called Lewy Body Dementia. Here’s a look at some of the research:
- At the University of Pittsburgh, researchers are working to better understand an individual’s cognitive functioning in everyday life. Researchers will use an app to capture cognitive assessments in “bursts” three times a day for several days as their subjects go about their daily lives. The goal is to eliminate inaccurate or misleading data caused by fluctuations in sleep, stress and daily activities, as well as to take patients out of the clinical setting, where they may be nervous or stressed.
- At Washington University in St. Louis, the Knight Alzheimer Disease Research Center, researchers are working on numerous research projects: PET imaging with Alzheimer’s biomarkers, circadian rhythms in regulation of Alzheimer’s pathology, brain oxidative stress, the transition to symptomatic AD, identification of genetic variants associated with rate of disease progression, and antecedent imaging biomarkers. The Center’s renowned Memory & Aging Project, which began in 1979, studies the intellectual functioning in persons as they age with the goal of developing treatments and, eventually, a cure.
- The Cleveland Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, thanks to funding from the National Institute on Aging, is leveraging the resources of Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Clinic, Louis Stokes Cleveland VA Medical Center, the MetroHealth System and University hospitals. The center is sharing research findings, enrolling individuals into observational studies, and working to determine if animal model work translates to human studies. The center is also working on Lewy Body Dementia.
- The Ohio State University is researching genetics, pre-clinical diagnostic measures, imaging, health disparities and drug trials.
Data, kidney donors, puppies, and logistics
Two international scholars land in Flyover Country to be at the forefront of data and logistics. Hear their insights on how data could possibly find willing kidney donors on Facebook, improve logistics, and even identify the most adoptable puppies.
Dr. Lihui Bai and Dr. Monica Gentili join host Ben Reno-Weber, from Louisville's Future of Work Initiative, to talk about the work they are doing inside the University of Louisville Logistics and Distribution Institute. You will come to appreciate that regardless of industry sector, the efficiency, effectiveness, and power of data are deep in the details.
MN healthcare startups are crushing it
A report from the Medical Alley Association says that Minnesota health startups have raised more than $1 billion in the first three quarters of the year. (In 2019, it took an entire year to hit that mark.) So far, 58 Medical Alley startups have raised $1.02 billion, with digital health leading the way ($658.6 million) and medical device companies coming along next ($315 million).
Big moneymakers include insurance startup Bright Health, which recently announced it had raised a $500 million Series E fundraising round, and Preventice Solutions, which makes remote heart monitoring devices. Preventice raised a $137 million Series B in July.
Other top performers in the device category include CVRx, a heart failure device maker, and CardioMech, which develops heart valve repair devices.
Indy consultant Medasource quietly makes big healthcare impact
A healthcare consulting company headquartered in Indianapolis has quickly grown to significant size nationally, with 32 physical offices around the country and thousands of medical and scientific consultants. Medasource, which was founded in 2000, has customers in health systems, pharma, biotech, and device companies. The company is part of human capital firm Eight Eleven Group, also headquartered in Indy.
Medasource offers services in healthcare IT, business applications, revenue cycle management pharmaceuticals, and life sciences. During the COVID pandemic, the company has also helped states, cities, and counties build teams to combat the virus’s spread. One clever program, called Elevate, is an entry-level training program to help companies improve their culture with an infusion of junior-level talent. The company offers a similar program for military veterans.
Pittsburgh tech climate still red-hot
Pittsburgh remains a hotbed of venture capital investment in young tech companies, with $175 million going to 30 companies in the third quarter. Leading the way were RoadRunner Recycling and Seegrid Corp., makers of self-driving vehicles for material handling. The companies brought in $49 million and $27 million, respectively.
The COVID-19 pandemic is having a big impact on VC investment, with telemedicine and distance learning especially hot markets. Nationwide, $37.8 billion in venture capital went to 2,990 companies in the quarter. Amid all the uncertainty, investors are putting their money in late-stage companies, with mega deals of $100 million or higher pushing the yearly total to $78.2 billion.
What is fueling Flyover Country innovation? In this weekly feature, we share a variety of announcements covering funding, acquisitions, exits, grants, and everything in between. Got something to celebrate? Click here to share your story.
- KC’s VeriShip, which developed a SaaS platform to help SMBs ship packages in the US, has merged with Utah-based Sifted, a “predictive logistics” platform geared toward enterprise shippers. Kansas City Business Journal says the companies have thousands of customers, including Chicago Music Exchange, Shutterfly, and Kendra Scott.
- Carnegie Learning, a leader in AI for the education and formative assessment sector, has received a strategic growth investment from Chicago-based private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners. The funds have acquired a majority stake in Carnegie Learning from CIP Capital, a private equity firm based in New York.
- Wisconsin-based Synthetaic (pronounced “synthetic”) has raised $3.5 million in funding led by Lupa Systems, with participation by Betaworks Ventures and TitletownTech. Research and Markets says, “Synthetaic’s technology combines high-fidelity 3D models with novel, generative AI technologies to grow large datasets of synthetic images for machine learning.”
It's time for our favorite trivia game!
- What city boasts the largest half-marathon in the U.S.?
- William Potts is credited with inventing the three-lens traffic light. In what city did he live when he did so?
- The practice of luxury hotels putting a chocolate on the pillows of their guests began in what city?
Click here for today's answers.
Share stories, offer suggestions, or send comments!