HEALTH

KT Tape names CEO

BY Antoinette Alexander

LINDON, UTAH — KT Health, parent company to KT Tape and a producer of kinesiology tape and related sports medicine products in the retail market, has named Greg Venner president and CEO.

John MacKay, KT Health’s outgoing CEO and one of the four original founders, will continue to remain actively involved in the company as a member of the board.  

Venner joins KT Health having spent his career building and leading enterprises and developing consumer brands in the sports nutrition, food, and consumer packaged goods sectors. Most recently, he was president and CEO of Dymatize Enterprises, a sports nutrition company. Prior to that he held key executive positions at such companies as Boulder Brands, Mead Johnson Nutritionals (a subsidiary of Bristol-Myers Squibb), Lance, Tropicana Products, and Conagra Frozen Foods.  

“The other founders and I have grown KT Health into the dominant player in the kinesiology tape category,” stated MacKay. “Greg’s expertise will take the company to its next stage of development and we are very excited that he is joining the team.” 

“I am thrilled to join KT Health and help build upon the incredible success John and his team have had,” stated Venner. “The opportunity to bring my experience building consumer brands to a market leader like KT is exciting.  My focus will be to continue to work with our retail partners to drive sales of KT Tape, grow internationally, and introduce new, innovative products to broaden the KT Health portfolio.”
 

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Cruex relaunched as a fungal nail revitalizing gel

BY Michael Johnsen

PHILADELPHIA – Ducere Pharma is relaunching Cruex as a fungal nail revitalizing gel, the company announced Tuesday.
 
"We are excited to be relaunching Cruex as a nail fungus gel,” said Ducere Pharma CEO Chris Dominello. Ducere Pharma conducted clinical research on Cruex in 2014 and 80% of users reported improvement in one week. The research found that the product reduced the discoloration of the affected nail and made the nail smoother after use. “With Cruex’s strong brand equity and superior claim, we believe this product will be a leader in the foot care category,” added Dominello.
 
Cruex Fungal Nail Revitalizing Gel, patented to improve the appearance of fungal nails, contains Bonicel – a purified filtrate produced by a probiotic called Ganeden BC. The product works topically and has been clinically proven to significantly improve the health and appearance of fungal nails.
 
Cruex, once manufactured by Novartis, was a popular jock-itch fighter. In 2013, Ducere Pharma bought Cruex and a number of other brands from Novartis.
 
Cruex will be available at retail beginning late April.
 
In addition to Cruex, Ducere Pharma also purchased Doan's for back pain, Comtrex for coughs and colds, Nupercainal for hemorrhoids, and Myoflex for muscle, joint and arthritis pain from Novartis.
 
“Our market research has shown that these products still have strong brand equity among consumers,” said Ducere Pharma director of marketing Lauren Schulz. “At Ducere Pharma, we aim to fill unmet needs under these established, trusted brand names. Finding new uses and creating new marketing campaigns is part of the plan.”
 
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New IBM Watson Health unit expected to transform health and wellness

BY Michael Johnsen

 

 
ARMONK, N.Y. — IBM and its significant data analytics capabilities is expected to drive collaborative healthcare innovation with the creation of IBM Watson Health, a new business unit responsible for building and growing the Watson Health Cloud, the company announced Tuesday. The HIPAA-enabled Watson Health Cloud will enable secure access to individualized insights and a more complete picture of the many factors that can affect people's health. 
 
"Watson Health builds on years of collaborative relationships with leaders across the healthcare ecosystem," said Michael Rhodin, SVP, IBM Watson. "The groundbreaking applications of Watson's cognitive computing capabilities by medical clients and partners clearly demonstrated the potential to fundamentally change the quality, efficiency and effectiveness of healthcare delivery worldwide. We're excited to broaden access to world-class technology and to work with our partners to transform health and wellness for millions of people."   
 
IBM will open a headquarters location for the new unit in the Boston area and expand its Watson presence in New York. It will dedicate at least 2,000 consultants, medical practitioners, clinicians, developers and researchers to design, develop and accelerate the adoption of Watson Health capabilities. The new unit will include IBM's existing Smarter Care and Social Programs practice, which was created three years ago following the acquisition of Curam Software, a leading provider of health and social program management solutions.
 
The future of health is all about the individual, IBM noted. With the increasing prevalence of personal fitness trackers, connected medical devices, implantables and other sensors that collect real-time information, the average person is likely to generate more than one million gigabytes of health-related data in their lifetime (the equivalent of more than 300 million books). 
 
However, it is difficult to connect these dynamic and constantly growing pools of information with more traditional sources such as doctor-created medical records, clinical research and individual genomes – data sets that are fragmented and not easily shared. A highly scalable and secure global information platform is essential to pull out individualized insights to help people and providers make timely, evidence-based decisions about health-related issues.
 
"All this data can be overwhelming for providers and patients alike, but it also presents an unprecedented opportunity to transform the ways in which we manage our health," stated John Kelly III, IBM SVP, solutions portfolio and research. "We need better ways to tap into and analyze all of this information in real-time to benefit patients and to improve wellness globally. Only IBM has the advanced cognitive capabilities of Watson and can pull together the vast ecosystem of partners, practitioners and researchers needed to drive change, as well as to provide the open, secure and scalable platform needed to make it all possible."
 
Extending the company's exclusive Watson cognitive computing platform, IBM is:
 
  • Entering new partnerships with leading companies including Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to help optimize consumer and medical devices for data collection, analysis and feedback;
  • Acquiring Explorys and Phytel to advance its healthcare analytics capabilities; and
  • Establishing a dedicated business unit – IBM Watson Health, to be headquartered in the Boston area.
 
IBM is collaborating with Apple, Johnson & Johnson and Medtronic to create new health-based offerings that leverage information collected from personal health, medical and fitness devices. The results will be better insights, real-time feedback and recommendations to improve everything from personal health and wellness to acute and chronic care. These relationships are non-exclusive, and IBM anticipates many more companies to leverage the Watson Health Cloud platform.
 
IBM and Apple will expand their partnership with IBM Watson Health Cloud to provide a secure cloud platform and analytics for Apple's HealthKit and ResearchKit. This will support health data entered by customers in iOS apps and also arm medical researchers with a secure, open data storage solution with access to IBM's most sophisticated data analytics capabilities
 
Johnson & Johnson will collaborate with IBM to create intelligent coaching systems centered on preoperative and postoperative patient care, including joint replacement and spinal surgery. Solutions will be mobile-based, accessing the Watson Health Cloud and leveraging IBM Watson's cognitive capabilities. 
 
Johnson & Johnson will also look to launch new health apps targeting chronic conditions, which currently cost consumers as much as 80% of the $7 trillion global healthcare spend.  Medtronic will leverage the Watson Health Cloud insights platform to collaborate with IBM around delivery of new highly-personalized care management solutions for people with diabetes. The solutions will receive and analyze patient information and data from various Medtronic devices including insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitors, and use this information to provide dynamic, personalized diabetes management strategies to patients and their providers. 
 
To complement its existing capabilities, IBM has reached agreement to acquire Cleveland-based Explorys and Dallas-based Phytel, two healthcare technology companies that are widely recognized for their leadership in applying Big Data and analytics to help improve the quality of health for individuals and large population groups.
 
A spin-off from the Cleveland Clinic in 2009, Explorys' secure cloud-computing platform is used by 26 major integrated healthcare systems to identify patterns in diseases, treatments and outcomes. It integrates more than 315 billion clinical, financial, and operational data elements, spanning 50 million unique patients, 360 hospitals and more than 317,000 providers. Market intelligence firm IDC just named Explorys global leader in Healthcare Clinical and Financial Analysis.
 
Phytel develops and sells cloud-based services that help healthcare providers and care teams work together to ensure care is effective and coordinated in order to meet new healthcare quality requirements and reimbursement models. It was just named the leader in the population health management category by the 2014 Best in KLAS Awards: Software & Services. 
 
The acquisitions bolster IBM's efforts to apply advanced analytics and cognitive computing to help primary care providers, large hospital systems and physician networks improve healthcare quality and effect healthier patient outcomes.
 
Terms were not disclosed for either deal.
 
Building on strengths in cognitive computing, analytics, security and cloud, the new Watson Health unit aims to dramatically improve the ability of doctors, researchers and insurers to innovate by surfacing new insights from the massive amount of personal health data being created daily. 
 
The Watson Health Cloud platform allows this information to be anonymized, shared and combined with a dynamic and constantly-growing aggregated view of clinical, research and social health data. IBM and its vast ecosystem of clients, partners and medical researchers can surface new connections between these diverse and previously siloed healthcare data sets, and spur the creation of a new generation of data-driven applications and solutions designed to advance health and wellness. Individual patients and larger health populations alike will benefit as providers share and apply those insights in real-time to drive better, faster and less expensive treatments.
 
The medical community is one of the earliest adopters of Watson cognitive computing technology, where IBM has collaborated with leading hospitals and research institutes including Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, the Cleveland Clinic, the Mayo Clinic and the New York Genome Center to advance Watson's healthcare capabilities and to help transform how medicine is taught, researched and practiced.
 
Innovative partners including Welltok, Modernizing Medicine, Pathway Genomics and GenieMD are already using Watson's cognitive computing capabilities, giving rise to a whole new breed of health apps that are redefining how individuals and organizations think about personal health management. Cognitive computing systems learn and interact naturally with people to extend what either humans or machine could do on their own. They help human experts make better decisions by penetrating the complexity of Big Data.
 
IBM has received more than 1,300 patents in healthcare, life sciences and medical devices. Its invention of the excimer laser used for LASIK surgery was awarded the National Medal of Technology in 2011, and Blue Gene, the first supercomputer to successfully model protein-folding, received the award in 2009.
 

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