Teva Quietly Dumps Millions in Telemedicine Startup American Well

Published: Jun 04, 2015

Teva Quietly Dumps Millions in Telemedicine Startup American Well
June 4, 2015
By Alex Keown and Riley McDermid, BioSpace.com Breaking News Staff

JERUSALEM -- Israel-based Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. is banking tens of millions of dollars on a digital medicine platform via an investment its made with telehealth providers American-based American Well.

The exact amount of the investment was not disclosed.

The investment in digital medicine is one of the first by Teva, Globes reported. The investment will allow the company to expand its solutions beyond medicine, Erez Vigodman, chief executive officer of Teva told Globes. He said the investment in America Well is an important step in carving out a “significant presence” in the electronic medicine field.

American Well, which was founded in Boston more than 10 years ago by two Israeli doctors, provides mobile and web service that connects doctors with patients for live, on-demand video visits over the Internet, the company said on its website. In May, American Well unveiled Telehealth 2.0, which allows physicians to “bring telehealth into their daily practice and use it to care for and follow-up with their own patient panels,” the company said in a statement.

“Telehealth 2.0 puts telehealth in every physician’s pocket. It allows physicians to reach their patients in the home setting or engage other providers where collaborative care is required. It allows physicians to use modern technology, instead of costly office visits, to envelop their patients,” Roy Schoenberg, CEO of American Well, said in a statement.

Wait time for a doctor via the American Well platform is less than two minutes, Schoenberg told Globes.

Globes also noted in its article that insurance companies are coming on board by offering reduced rates to those who utilize telehealth services versus traditional doctor’s office visits.

Teva has already made several forays into digital medicine. Globes noted the company developed an inhaler that sends reminder information to a mobile device tor remind the patient to take the medication, as well as the correct dosage. The company also created a mobile application designed to report negative reactions when between different drugs, as well as a digital support for multiple sclerosis patients.

Additionally, Teva, through its TAPI (Teva Active Pharmaceutical Ingredients) division, launched a self service website, Tapi+Online, that allows its business to business customers to download documents, submit questions and receive quick answers, and review purchase orders and track shipments. All of this functionality is available on PC, tablet or smartphone. The platform as created to meet the growing trend of “immediate demand,” the company said.

Telehealth, or telemedicine, is a growing field. Several large pharmaceutical and biotech companies are carving out their on niches, including Pfizer Inc. , which launched a drug trial with remote patient participation. Drug investigators will ship “all blinded study medication to patients at home rather than dispensing it at a clinic visit.

Researchers will manage study conduct remotely, and share clinical trial data and results with patients, enabling them to add them to their own personal health records” Pfizer said. In addition to Pfizer, Merck & Co. , opened several telehealth clincs in rural areas of Africa.

Teva’s stock was trading at a morning high of $61.29 per share, up from its opening price of $60.72 per share.

Teva is likely relieved to be in the headlines for something other than its frustrated and prolonged efforts to acquire Pittsburgh, Penn.-based Mylan Pharmaceuticals, Inc. .

Last week the complicated attempted buy up of Mylan took another acrimonious turn, after Teva bought 1.35 percent of Mylan NV’s stock in an effort to force the company to accept its already rejected $43 billion bid. Mylan returned fire this week, saying in a letter to Teva CEO Erez Vigodman.

"We consider Teva's stakebuilding as a further indication of its intention to meddle with our business, strategy and mission while remaining unclear as to its actual intentions," Mylan said in the letter.

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