March 21, 2023

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Inside of Mindstrong’s demise layoffs hit Cerebral

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Within Mindstrong’s unraveling

Mental health tech startup Mindstrong generated instantaneous buzz when it introduced in 2017 with a plan to establish a “digital biomarker” that could review a person’s typing and scrolling patterns on a smartphone to gain insight into their mental condition. That pitch drew $160 million from Silicon Valley’s top rated investors, these kinds of as General Catalyst and Optum Ventures. A star-studded govt group — including Tom InselPaul Dagum, and Rick Klausner — drew formidable study and tech talent from firms like Google.


But just a couple of many years right after the organization began increasing undertaking capital, Mindstrong’s functions have all but unwound. What started as an revolutionary hard work to develop an totally new software for measuring mental health eventually turned a operate-of-the-mill counseling web-site. Now, the firm plans to lay off most of its workforce, shutter its business office, and dismantle its remedy providers.

I spoke to 10 former Mindstrong employees, including founders, details experts, product designers, and clinicians, to analyze what went completely wrong. Lots of of them experienced joined due to the fact they located the company’s mission compelling. But they also felt rigorous stress, including from buyers, to commercialize a product or service they did not think was all set. “A large amount of that tension fell on me, and I finished up shelling out way also substantially time on the street talking to persons,” Dagum explained to me. “That time should really have been spent in the lab.”


All those pressures — and how Mindstrong managed them — carry a warning for the relaxation of the mental health tech industry. Go through my complete investigation. 

Even far more layoffs at Cerebral

Management troubles struggling with mental health tech startups extend significantly beyond Mindstrong. Cerebral, the beleaguered on the internet prescription business that dialed back prescriptions for managed substances below federal scrutiny, is laying off another 15% of its workforce, Organization Insider studies. The layoffs — the company’s 3rd round in significantly less than a yr — will influence about 285 staff and just take location above quite a few months.

As we have noted, Cerebral is one particular of a lot of companies changing to rapidly evolving restrictions, anticipations from people and traders, and scientific standards almost in real-time. In addition to a series of layoffs, Cerebral has also pivoted its enterprise: Just previous spring it said it would halt online prescriptions for some controlled substances such as Adderall adhering to a Justice Division investigation into its prescribing practices, while on the web prescriptions have extended driven the company’s rise to prominence.

DEA proposal restricts telemedicine prescribing

The Drug Enforcement Agency’s go to yet again tighten prescribing regulations  has drawn censure from telehealth lobbying groups which includes the American Telemedicine Affiliation. The proposal would need in-individual visits right before sufferers could get virtual prescriptions for managed substances like Adderall and medication employed to treat opioid use ailment. Beforehand, those people demands experienced been waived thanks to pandemic-era regulatory flexibilities. The DEA’s proposal is open for remark for the up coming month. (I also welcome your responses, like on how the proposal may influence individuals.)

The procedures are “significantly extra restrictive than is warranted,” ATA’s public plan lead Kyle Zebley said, and threat leaving individuals devoid of access to significant mental health and compound use cure. Foley & Lardner‘s Nathaniel Lacktman has a in depth explainer right here.

Epilepsy screening resource shows promise…in mice

NIH-funded scientists believe artificial intelligence might outperform individuals in detecting epilepsy in mice, suggesting that the resource might inevitably be used to automate anti-epileptic drug testing. Researchers described their strategy of detecting “behavioral fingerprints” in an posting in Neuron. The machine discovering program only desired one particular hour of video to establish epileptic mice, and didn’t have to have to have witnessed an true seizure.

This sort of a process could assistance approach large animal analyze samples, dashing up the discovery of treatment method. “[C]urrent behavioral assessment tactics in epilepsy study represent a major bottleneck,” they wrote.

NEJM launches new AI-focused medical journal

Also from the academic circuit, the New England Journal of Medication‘s guardian group will before long start a new publication intended to assess and consider synthetic intelligence in scientific medication. It’ll be posted on-line-only each and every month.

While the Food items and Drug Administration has approved medical devices and software package relying on synthetic intelligence for diagnostic uses, “the uptake in the medical community has unsuccessful to meet up with expectations,” the NEJM Group wrote.

“For a supplied AI software to be utilised, evidence that it will carry out in a safe and sound and successful method will have to be shown utilizing randomized managed trials made to exam the tool from an established standard…Unfortunately, there is at the moment confined large-high quality proof of this type obtainable for many medical AI units.”

Employment and deals

  • AI-based mostly revenue cycle administration company CodaMetrix has lifted $55 million in a Series A round led by SignalFire. Other contributors included Frist Cressey VenturesMartin VenturesYale MedicineCollege of Colorado Healthcare Innovation Fund, and Mass Common Brigham.
  • Rural health and distant checking and telehealth startup Homeward Health is partnering with Blue Cross and Blue Protect of Minnesota to present care in 14 counties in that point out.
  • Nicholas Tatonetti is Cedars-Sinai‘s new vice chair of computational biomedicine and affiliate director for computational oncology.