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Partnership to focus on Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes, obesity

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Centene Corporation (NYSE: CNC) and Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis announced today a partnership to transform and accelerate research into treatments for Alzheimer’s disease, breast cancer, diabetes and obesity. All are common, debilitating and often deadly diseases that affect millions of people worldwide, at all levels of income.

As part of the partnership, Centene will fund up to $100 million over 10 years in research at Washington University. The funding will galvanize the School of Medicine’s Personalized Medicine Initiative, which aims to develop customized disease treatment and prevention for patients. Innovations that arise from the initiative will be commercialized through the ARCH Personalized Medicine Initiative, a joint venture between the School of Medicine and Centene. Reflecting the philosophy of both institutions, ARCH is designed to accelerate the development and implementation of affordable and accessible health solutions to the public using the intellectual property developed from this research.

“We share the goal of helping to improve the health of our communities through research, education and customized treatment for people suffering from chronic illnesses,” said Michael F. Neidorff, chairman and CEO for Centene. “We believe personalized medicine is the path to ensure patients get the targeted health care they need to fight disease, and we look forward to partnering with such a renowned medical school to initially focus on four diseases that impact millions of Americans, including many of our health plan members.”

The investment will leverage the university’s cutting-edge research and biomedical capabilities, including state-of-the-art technologies such as CRISPR, and internationally known scientists in the areas of the microbiome, immunomodulatory therapies, cancer genomics, neurodegeneration, cellular reprogramming, chemical biology, informatics and others. In addition, the funds will strengthen resources at more than a dozen centers and institutes at the School of Medicine, including the Edison Family Center for Genome Sciences & Systems Biology; the Andrew M. and Jane M. Bursky Center for Human Immunology and Immunotherapy ProgramsSiteman Cancer Center at Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Washington University School of Medicine; the Elizabeth H. and James S. McDonnell III Genome Institute; the Institute for Informatics; and the Center of Regenerative Medicine.

“We will be bringing together world-class resources and intellectual horsepower from every basic and clinical scientific discipline to urgently accelerate the timeline for developing therapies that are more precisely targeted, with aspirations to do so in the next five to seven years,” said David H. Perlmutter, MD, executive vice chancellor for medical affairs, the George and Carol Bauer Dean, and the Spencer T. and Ann. W. Olin Distinguished Professor at the School of Medicine. “I believe the most important advances that will evolve from the personalized medicine paradigm will come from harnessing genome engineering technologies to build better model systems of each human disease, and utilizing deep genomic and clinical characterization to enable more effective and less expensive clinical trials.”

Perlmutter continued, “The partnership supports our global leadership in understanding sequence variants in biological systems that will pave the way for new therapeutic targets, as well as learning more about our own innate biology. Once personalized medicine becomes common practice, health-care workers may examine each patient’s genome — as well as information regarding his or her environment, lifestyle and social network — to identify a customized, affordable approach to optimizing health and medical care.”

Centene and Washington University will host a press briefing at a later date to be determined.

About Centene Corporation
Centene Corporation, a Fortune 100 company, is a diversified, multi-national healthcare enterprise that provides a portfolio of services to government sponsored and commercial healthcare programs, focusing on under-insured and uninsured individuals. Many receive benefits provided under Medicaid, including the State Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), as well as Aged, Blind or Disabled (ABD), Foster Care and Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS), in addition to other state-sponsored programs, Medicare (including the Medicare prescription drug benefit commonly known as “Part D”), dual eligible programs and programs with the U.S. Department of Defense. Centene also provides healthcare services to groups and individuals delivered through commercial health plans. Centene operates local health plans and offers a range of health insurance solutions. It also contracts with other healthcare and commercial organizations to provide specialty services including behavioral health management, care management software, correctional healthcare services, dental benefits management, commercial programs, home-based primary care services, life and health management, vision benefits management, pharmacy benefits management, specialty pharmacy and telehealth services.

Centene uses its investor relations website to publish important information about the Company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. Financial and other information about Centene is routinely posted and is accessible on Centene’s investor relations website, http://www.centene.com/investors.

About Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis
Washington University School of Medicine’s 1,500 faculty physicians also are the medical staff of Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals. The School of Medicine is a leader in medical research, teaching and patient care, ranking among the top 10 medical schools in the nation by U.S. News & World Report. Through its affiliations with Barnes-Jewish and St. Louis Children’s hospitals, the School of Medicine is linked to BJC HealthCare.

Cautionary Statement on Forward-Looking Statements

All statements, other than statements of current or historical fact, contained in this communication are forward-looking statements. Without limiting the foregoing, forward-looking statements often use words such as “believe,” “anticipate,” “plan,” “expect,” “estimate,” “intend,” “seek,” “target,” “goal,” “may,” “will,” “would,” “could,” “should,” “can,” “continue” and other similar words or expressions (and the negative thereof). We intend such forward-looking statements to be covered by the safe-harbor provisions for forward-looking statements contained in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995, and Centene Corporation is including this statement for purposes of complying with these safe-harbor provisions. In particular, these statements include, without limitation, statements about Centene’s future operating or financial performance, market opportunity, growth strategy, competition, expected activities in completed and future acquisitions, including statements about the impact of Centene’s proposed acquisition of WellCare Health Plans, Inc. (the “WellCare Transaction”), Centene’s recent acquisition (the “Fidelis Care Transaction”) of substantially all the assets of New York State Catholic Health Plan, Inc., d/b/a Fidelis Care New York (“Fidelis Care“), investments and the adequacy of Centene’s available cash resources.

These forward-looking statements reflect Centene’s current views with respect to future events and are based on numerous assumptions and assessments made by us in light of Centene’s experience and perception of historical trends, current conditions, business strategies, operating environments, future developments and other factors Centene believes appropriate. By their nature, forward-looking statements involve known and unknown risks and uncertainties and are subject to change because they relate to events and depend on circumstances that will occur in the future, including economic, regulatory, competitive and other factors that may cause Centene’s or its industry’s actual results, levels of activity, performance or achievements to be materially different from any future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements expressed or implied by these forward-looking statements. These statements are not guarantees of future performance and are subject to risks, uncertainties and assumptions.

All forward-looking statements included in this filing are based on information available to us on the date of this communication. Except as may be otherwise required by law, Centene undertakes no obligation to update or revise the forward-looking statements included in this communication, whether as a result of new information, future events or otherwise, after the date of this filing. You should not place undue reliance on any forward-looking statements, as actual results may differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements due to a variety of important factors, variables and events including, but not limited to, the following: (i) the risk that regulatory or other approvals required for the WellCare Transaction may be delayed or not obtained or are obtained subject to conditions that are not anticipated that could require the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources or otherwise have an adverse effect on Centene; (ii) the risk that Centene’s stockholders do not approve the issuance of shares of Centene common stock in the WellCare Transaction; (iii) the risk that WellCare’s stockholders do not adopt the merger agreement; (iv) the possibility that certain conditions to the consummation of the WellCare Transaction will not be satisfied or completed on a timely basis and accordingly the WellCare Transaction may not be consummated on a timely basis or at all; (v) uncertainty as to the expected financial performance of the combined company following completion of the WellCare Transaction; (vi) the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from the WellCare Transaction will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; (vii) the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required, in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for the WellCare Transaction; (viii) the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of the WellCare Transaction or that the integration of WellCare will be more difficult or time consuming than expected; (ix) the risk that potential litigation in connection with the WellCare Transaction may affect the timing or occurrence of the WellCare Transaction or result in significant costs of defense, indemnification and liability; (x) a downgrade of the credit rating of Centene’s indebtedness, which could give rise to an obligation to redeem existing indebtedness; (xi) unexpected costs, charges or expenses resulting from the WellCare Transaction; (xii) the possibility that competing offers will be made to acquire WellCare; (xiii) the inability to retain key personnel; (xiv) disruption from the announcement, pendency and/or completion of the WellCare Transaction, including potential adverse reactions or changes to business relationships with customers, employees, suppliers or regulators, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; and (xv) the risk that, following the WellCare Transaction, the combined company may not be able to effectively manage its expanded operations.

Additional factors that may cause actual results to differ materially from projections, estimates, or other forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, the following: (i) Centene’s ability to accurately predict and effectively manage health benefits and other operating expenses and reserves; (ii) competition; (iii) membership and revenue declines or unexpected trends; (iv) changes in healthcare practices, new technologies, and advances in medicine; (v) increased healthcare costs, (vi) changes in economic, political or market conditions; (vii) changes in federal or state laws or regulations, including changes with respect to income tax reform or government healthcare programs as well as changes with respect to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and the Health Care and Education Affordability Reconciliation Act, collectively referred to as the Affordable Care Act (“ACA”), and any regulations enacted thereunder that may result from changing political conditions or judicial actions, including the ultimate outcome of the District Court decision in “Texas v. United States of America” regarding the constitutionality of the ACA; (viii) rate cuts or other payment reductions or delays by governmental payors and other risks and uncertainties affecting Centene’s government businesses; (ix) Centene’s ability to adequately price products on federally facilitated and state-based Health Insurance Marketplaces; (x) tax matters; (xi) disasters or major epidemics; (xii) the outcome of legal and regulatory proceedings; (xiii) changes in expected contract start dates; (xiv) provider, state, federal and other contract changes and timing of regulatory approval of contracts; (xv) the expiration, suspension, or termination of Centene’s contracts with federal or state governments (including but not limited to Medicaid, Medicare, TRICARE or other customers); (xvi) the difficulty of predicting the timing or outcome of pending or future litigation or government investigations; (xvii) challenges to Centene’s contract awards; (xviii) cyber-attacks or other privacy or data security incidents; (xix) the possibility that the expected synergies and value creation from acquired businesses, including, without limitation, the Fidelis Care Transaction, will not be realized, or will not be realized within the expected time period; (xx) the exertion of management’s time and Centene’s resources, and other expenses incurred and business changes required in connection with complying with the undertakings in connection with any regulatory, governmental or third party consents or approvals for acquisitions, including the Fidelis Care Transaction; (xxi) disruption caused by significant completed and pending acquisitions, including, among others, the Fidelis Care Transaction, making it more difficult to maintain business and operational relationships; (xxii) the risk that unexpected costs will be incurred in connection with the completion and/or integration of acquisition transactions, including, among others, the Fidelis Care Transaction; (xxiii) changes in expected closing dates, estimated purchase price and accretion for acquisitions; (xxiv) the risk that acquired businesses, including Fidelis Care, will not be integrated successfully; (xxv) the risk that, following the Fidelis Care Transaction, Centene may not be able to effectively manage its expanded operations; (xxvi) restrictions and limitations in connection with Centene’s indebtedness; (xxvii) Centene’s ability to maintain the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Star ratings and maintain or achieve improvement in other quality scores in each case that can impact revenue and future growth; (xxviii) availability of debt and equity financing, on terms that are favorable to us; (xxxix) inflation; and (xxx) foreign currency fluctuations.

This list of important factors is not intended to be exhaustive. We discuss certain of these matters more fully, as well as certain other factors that may affect Centene’s business operations, financial condition and results of operations, in Centene’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”), including Centene’s Annual Report on Form 10-K, quarterly reports on Form 10-Q and current reports on Form 8-K.  Due to these important factors and risks, Centene cannot give assurances with respect to Centene’s future performance, including without limitation Centene’s ability to maintain adequate premium levels or Centene’s ability to control its future medical and selling, general and administrative costs.

 

SOURCE: Centene Corporation

Artificial Intelligence

Experienced Industry Veteran Tony Mingo Joins O’Neil Digital Solutions

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Tony Mingo, Managing Director, Professional Services

 

O’Neil Digital Solutions (ODS), a leader in data-driven publishing and plan sponsor/participant communication services, recently announced that long-time financial technology (fintech) veteran Tony Mingo has joined the organization as its Managing Director, Professional Services in the financial vertical.

Mingo’s role is “to assist cutting-edge companies in their data-transformation strategies.”

Before joining ODS, Mingo founded vWise, Inc., a retirement plan participant digital thought-leader, in 2006, with a vision of creating interactive solutions that engage employees with their benefits. His experience as a leader in the financial services industry spans over 28 years, with additional experience in executive management leadership within the technology industry in Silicon Valley.

“With Tony’s experience and relationships in the financial industry, we are excited to have him build and lead our Professional Service in the Financial division at ODS,” said Terry Chan, President and COO of ODS.

Mingo will focus on growing the software and professional services offerings for the firm’s financial and insurance lines of business.

“It’s about delivering a proven digital transformation strategy, from traditional output to Omni-channel conversion, as well as process improvement, change management, and SAAS platforms that serve six different verticals (retirement, banking, brokerage, property/casualty, wealth management and life insurance/annuity),” Mingo said. “It has never been more imperative that organizations provide world-class customer experiences to plan participants to strengthen their reputations and brand loyalty. Meeting these expectations requires a deeper understanding of an individual customer’s needs across the entire customer journey.”

In early 2019, O’Neil launched its Plan Health Dashboard. The Plan Health Dashboard uses a client’s plan analytics to assign a plan health score based on underlying metrics such as participation rates, income replacement ratios, and asset diversification. The metrics can be weighted to define the scoring methodology.

ODS’ Omni-channel solution, called ONEsuite, provides clients with a flexible platform to create, manage and deliver highly-personalized marketing, sales and business documents in any media and format requested by an audience.

 

SOURCE O’Neil Digital Solutions

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Artificial Intelligence

Konnect -Volkswagen Group Innovation Hub TLV, Chose Seebo as the Winner of Its Startups Challenge

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Seebo, a pioneer in process-based Artificial Intelligence, announced today it has won the Konnect- VW Group Innovation hub TLV Startups Challenge. Seebo was chosen following a tough judging process, by a jury of experts from the Volkswagen Group leading car brands such as Volkswagen, Audi, SEAT, Skoda, Porsche, VW Commercial Vehicles and more.

The goal of the challenge was to find technologies that present clear business potential, cost reduction, and address real challenges.” Says Stephanie Vox, Managing Director, Konnect. “Seebo’s solution is market-ready and can rapidly impact production efficiency and costs. It was chosen based on the Volkswagen Group high standards and commitment to deliver to our customers top quality cars today and in the future.”

Seebo was selected out of dozens of start-ups that participated in the challenge. The prize recognizes Seebo’s ground-breaking technology and ensures a deep collaboration with the VW Group, for which a sum of up to 25K Euros is granted.

We are honored to have been chosen as winners of the Smart Startups Challenge for 2019, by the leading VW Group brands, which are known for quality and innovation.” Says Lior Akavia, Seebo co-founder and CEO. “We look forward to this collaboration and to being part of the VW Group on-going pursuit for improvement in production efficiency and excellence.

Seebo enables automotive manufacturers to reduce processes-driven quality losses and failures in production and assembly processes. Collecting and analyzing data from production lines and automated inspection systems, Seebo leverages predictive analytics and automated root-cause analysis, to ensure production efficiency is kept at its highest level.

 

SOURCE Seebo

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Artificial Intelligence

Innovative Healthcare Startup Kermit Leverages Mendix-built Analytics Platform to Expand Services Nationwide

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Mendix, a Siemens business and the global leader in low-code and no-code application development for the enterprise, today announced that Kermit, the first spend-management platform for hospitals in the area of implantable medical devices, is announcing plans to expand their services nationwide. Kermit’s innovative analytics platform, enabling hospitals to track and manage contracts, billings, and vendor compliance, was built with a single Mendix developer in less than a year. Today’s announcement underscores the fact that low code technology from Mendix is ripe for implementation within the healthcare industry.

As knee, hip, and cardio implants move from package to patient, the Mendix-built platform captures data and provides end-to-end visibility into a supplier category known for its notoriously opaque pricing and batch invoicing. With Kermit, the accurate cost and use of each medical device is captured on handheld devices as the medical item moves from point-of-service in the operating room, accurate patient billing and vendor invoice payment, and finally aggregated for contract negotiations by healthcare executives. The data-driven analytics platform transforms a hospital’s previously siloed, paper- and spreadsheet-based data collection system into a cost-savings tool that flags supplier trends, optimizes workflows and spending, and provides quick dashboard reporting that has been proven to save hospitals millions of dollars.

“We are thrilled to announce our plans to expand the Kermit services nationwide,” says Richard Palarea, CEO and co-founder of Kermit, whose company now manages 40% of the total implant spend transacting in Maryland. “Our goal is not only to provide better data and save money for resource-strapped hospitals. We also want to shine a light on fraud and abuse within the medical device marketing industry and align value and spend management initiatives for the people that dedicate their lives to saving others. Our customers are now seeing significant savings in their medical device spending category. We wouldn’t have been able to achieve all this had it not been for Mendix. We built our platform using Mendix, and I attribute a large portion of our success to the ease of using Mendix’s low-code platform.”

Providing transparency and control

Fraud and abuse often run rampant in the sales and marketing of drugs and medical devices and is difficult to track across the healthcare industry’s siloed or proprietary data warehouse systems. Kermit provides a transparent analytics platform for surgeons, supply chain managers, and healthcare executives that connects medical device data to robust visualization and analysis, empowering the full team to make quality decisions on behalf of the patient. For surgeons, the platform provides an easy and transparent way to review the costs of implantable medical devices while discussing options with patients. Kermit also ensures fair and accurate billing by keeping cases, contracts, and devices updated and organized for supply chain managers. Additionally, Kermit pulls in external business intelligence such as supplier spending trends, contract compliance, and FDA recalls of medical devices. Such items, flagged for healthcare executives and procurement managers, provide knowledge and insight on device-related inefficiencies, equipping hospital to better navigate the ever-changing reimbursement environment.

Saving hospitals millions

Hospitals are working under immense pressure to manage costs and increase savings, with many operating on profit margins of 3 percent or less. Kermit’s founding principle is to return the balance of power back to the hospital by exposing ways to eliminate millions of dollars per year in the category of medical device spending and improving patient care. The University of Maryland Medical System, which has used the Kermit analytics platform over the course of two years, has achieved upwards of $30 million in savings, with greater visibility to vendor activity and collaboration between supply chain and surgeons. Hospitals in the mid-Atlantic region that have adopted Kermit report saving 30% on average of their total implant spend per year.

Built in nine months

Palarea cites Mendix’s flexible approach to rapid application development as a key competitive differentiator. “Without Mendix, it would have taken us nearly twice as long to develop our product and required us to hire five to ten developers instead of one,” he says. “We would have lost the window of being first to market this innovative approach.”

Mendix’s cloud-native capability enables Kermit to bypass hospital firewalls for additional time and efficiency gains. “Hospital IT departments can be bottlenecks,” Palarea admits. “Enterprise solutions can take between one to three years to implement. However, our customers access our Mendix-built platform via web browsers and connectivity. This lets Kermit bypass IT involvement and deploy our solution in less than seven days.”

The healthcare industry’s digital transformation depends on healthy data. “To leverage the inherent promise of big data analytics in the healthcare supply chain of medical devices is only achieved with a deep understanding of what customers and end users truly need and use on a daily basis,” says Jon Scolamiero, Mendix manager, architecture and governance. “Mendix’s application development tools are designed to foster collaboration between business experts and professional developers. Working together, they can build and deploy responsive, mission-critical applications that quickly make an impact.”

Palarea agrees. “Mendix has allowed us to be extremely nimble and flexible,” he says. “We are literally innovating in the midst of our hospital customers who are unaccustomed to seeing value delivered so rapidly and well below the expected budget numbers.”

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