Industry News: Volume 2, Issue 1

SYNAPS Dx Completes $10 Million Series A Investment, Accelerates Commercialization of DISCERN: First Minimally Invasive Test for Accurate Diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease

ROCKVILLE, Md.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–SYNAPS Dx (SDx), a privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of diagnostics for neurodegenerative disorders and conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease (AD), announces the close of its Series A $10 million investment, including private equity, individual and family funds, and corporate investors. Proceeds will be used to scale-up production and meet market demand for DISCERN™, the first autopsy-validated, highly accurate, minimally invasive test for the definitive diagnosis of AD versus other forms of non-AD dementias and those with AD and other degenerative pathologies. As payers examine the cost and impact of new drugs and therapies for AD, DISCERN is positioned as a critical, essential component of patient-centric, value-based strategies.

Frank Amato, CEO and president, SDx, says, “Following decades of research and development, including the involvement and dedication of leading, world-class scientific research teams, statisticians and analysts, we are thrilled to close our series A financing. Investor receptivity and confidence in our breakthrough solution allows us to bring a timely, accurate diagnosis of AD to the marketplace. As we meet a significant unmet market need to potentially reduce the economic burden of AD across the healthcare system, our market entry could not have come at a better time — as demand for early-stage diagnosis is at an all-time high. The emergence of new drugs and therapies has intensified payer focus on approving and prescribing the most appropriate, cost-effective treatment.”

There are approximately 500,000 new cases of dementia each year in the United States, with about 2 million patients in years 0-3 of the disease at any given time.

Competitive barriers to entry include the SDx strong global IP portfolio and autopsy-validated clinical data, which takes many years to collect and confirms that the test is highly accurate with 95% sensitivity/specificity for diagnosing AD.

Dr. Daniel Alkon, chief scientific advisor, SYNAPS Dx, explains, “DISCERN reflects 30 years of research at the National Neurologic Institute, NIH to map the molecular pathways that create memory with mechanisms that are conserved across evolution, i.e. from marine snails progressing through mammals, with confirmation provided by a collaboration with the Harvard Brain Bank. This research demonstrated that the protein PKC-Epsilon is a Synaptic Growth “Master Switch” for memory formation. Furthermore, for more than a decade at the Rockefeller Neurosciences Institute, researchers conducted a series of human subject studies—culminating in autopsy-validated trials—and correlated AD-specific changes to the PKC-Epsilon cascades, which could be identified through deficiencies in skin fibroblast networks.”

Alkon says that the R&D showed that AD often presents with the loss of recent memory with phenotypical expression taking place in the brain, but also with pathophysiological expression peripherally. “This research, which has been published in over 300 peer-reviewed papers, resulted in the development of three SDx AD biomarkers that accurately identify and distinguish AD. These results were validated using the NIH ‘Gold Standard’ of dementia in life and autopsy confirmation of amyloid plaques and neurofibrillary tangles. Because so many people are touched in some way by AD, we hope DISCERN will help guide drug discovery, development, and dosing, and, thereby, enhance peace of mind to more patients and families.”

SYNAPS Dx is privately held company focused on the research, development and commercialization of diagnostics for neurodegenerative disorders and conditions, including Alzheimer’s Disease. The Company offers DISCERN™, the first accurate, minimally invasive test for the definitive diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease (AD) versus other forms of dementia. SYNAPS Dx’s laboratory is certified under the Clinical Laboratory Improvement Amendments (CLIA) as qualified to perform high complexity clinical laboratory testing. For more information, please contact or visit

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Aster Hospitals UAE launches Oncology Centre in Dubai

Introduces `Tumour Board’ at the Al Qusais hospital for multidisciplinary treatment planning

Dubai, October 11, 2021: Aster Hospitals UAE, a world-class facility under Aster DM Healthcare, a leading healthcare provider in the Middle East and India, today opened a state-of-the-art Department of Oncology at Aster Hospital Al Qusais, Dubai. Bringing Aster’s world-class cancer healing experience for the UAE patients, the centre adds greater value to Aster Hospitals’ existing resources as a leading tertiary care facility to meet the needs of patients.

The oncology centre offers highly specialized, advanced cancer care therapies to patients with focus on multidisciplinary treatment planning. As part of this, the centre introduces a `Tumour Board (TB)’, which is an integral component of the advanced treatment planning approach in cancer care.

Ms. Alisha Moopen, Deputy Managing Director – Aster DM Healthcare; and leading Indian film actress and inspiring cancer survivor Ms. Mamta Mohandas, jointly inaugurated the comprehensive cancer care centre in the presence of Dr. Sherbaz Bichu, CEO – Aster Hospitals & Clinics UAE.

The Department of Oncology will be led by Dr. Pranay Taori, Specialist Medical Oncologist, and Dr. Sivaprakash Rathanaswamy, Consultant Surgical Oncologist, along with members of the ‘Tumour Board’ from around the world.

“With the launch of the Department of Oncology, Aster Hospitals UAE is strengthening its capability to provide specialized care to the people of the UAE, alongside existing specialties. Recent studies have shown that UAE cancer rates are five times higher in younger adults than in the US and the UK and the incidence of breast cancer, colorectal cancer, prostate cancer and leukemia remains shockingly high. In many of these cases, early detection and surgical intervention can prove to be highly effective in stalling disease progression. We sincerely hope that the multi-disciplinary approach being introduced by Aster Hospitals would prove to be highly beneficial for patients in the UAE.” 

“Mamta’s battle against cancer is an inspiration to the world, and particularly cancer patients who can learn from her courage and willpower to perhaps navigate a dangerous, uphill phase in her life and come out victorious,” Alisha Moopen added.

“I am confident that Aster Hospital’s Comprehensive Oncology Centre has the right combination of medical interventions with compassionate and personalized approach, which is what makes a difference in treating cancer patients. Frontier treatment procedures do make a huge difference in treating cancer, but each patient fights his or her own battle, and it is important to bring a human touch to any treatment that brings a world of difference,” said Mamta Mohandas.

“We aim to provide tertiary and quaternary healthcare solutions to communities leveraging on our clinical expertise both in GCC and India. The newly instituted comprehensive oncology care unit is a value addition to our existing 150-bedded Aster Hospital Al Qusais. We commit to provide quality treatment to patients battling with cancer ensuring the best clinical outcomes. The center will provide services at par with established reputation of Aster DM Healthcare’s promise “We’ll treat you well”. Accentuating the digital platforms, use of technology and innovation we are on the right track of advancing the healthcare services towards excellence,” said Dr Sherbaz Bichu.

“The Tumour Board facilitates multidisciplinary treatment approach since it works as a sharing platform for a number of doctors from various medical faculties to review and discuss the medical condition and treatment options for a patient,” added Dr. Bichu.

The TB is a Multidisciplinary Team (MDT) meeting in which different specialists work together closely sharing clinical decisions in cancer care. The composition is variable, depending on the type of tumour discussed. As an organizational tool, MDTs optimize patient outcomes and improves care performance. The team of doctors will review patient history to discuss the best treatment modality for the patient.

Early detection of cancers is highly important for ensuring the best result in treatment. The need is to bring the technological advances and generate awareness about the better and cost-effective treatment options available.

The oncology centre at Aster Hospital will provide treatment to a variety of adult and pediatric cancers such as breast, lung, liver, colon, colorectal, stomach, prostate, brain, leukemia, cervix, kidney, pancreas, esophagus, ovarian sarcomas and other common and rare cancers, among the UAE nationals, residents and medical tourists. Many of these cancers require surgical intervention, which needs to be done at an early stage to save patients’ life from progression of the disease. 

The centre offers all kinds of treatments, ranging from hormonal to immunotherapy, targeted therapy, as well as chemotherapy provided by the best-in-class available clinical expertise and medical technologies along with personalized care catering to the growing needs of patients.

About Aster Hospitals UAE

Aster Hospitals UAE is Aster DM Healthcare’s continuation of its endeavor to create world-class, patient-centric hospitals driven by medical innovations and a culture of excellence. The Hospital aims to make a difference, with its patient-centric approach to medical care. The state-of-the-art multispecialty hospital in Mankhool is a 126-bedded medical facility, and Al Qusais a 150-bedded facility, where doctors adopt a multidisciplinary approach to provide holistic treatment to patients. Equipped with the most advanced Neonatal Intensive Care Unit in UAE, Aster Hospital offers multispecialty medical and surgical care all under one roof.

Aster DM Healthcare

Aster DM Healthcare Limited is one of the largest private healthcare service providers operating in GCC and in India. With an inherent emphasis on clinical excellence, we are one of the few entities in the world with a strong presence across primary, secondary, tertiary and quaternary healthcare through our 27 hospitals, 115 clinics and over 223 pharmacies in seven countries, including India. We have over 22,400 plus dedicated staff including 2970 doctors and 6437 nurses across the geographies that we are present in, delivering a simple yet strong promise to our different stakeholders: “We’ll treat you well.” We reach out to all economic segments in the GCC states through our differentiated healthcare services across the “Aster”, “Medcare” and “Access” brands. For more information, please visit

Digital health ecosystems: Voices of key healthcare leaders

By Stefan Biesdorf, Ulrike Deetjen, and Basel Kayyali—Amid the disruption of traditional medical care caused by COVID-19, some patients have found assistance via new online services, including digital bill submission, medical assistance, online teleconsultations, and online medications. Perhaps for the first time, these patients found themselves part of digital health ecosystems, which are networks of digital service providers that offer a single solution for users’ healthcare needs (see sidebar “Existing digital health ecosystems”).

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

Coming, soon, a surprise billing law may have unintended effects on health care

By Julie Appleby—Patients are months away from now having to worry about most surprise medical bills—those extra costs that can amount to hundreds or thousands of dollars when people are unknowingly treated by an out-of-network doctor or hospital.

The No Surprises Act—which takes effect Jan. 1—generally forbids insurers from dropping such bills on patients and, instead, requires health care providers and insurers to work out a deal between themselves.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

Biden admin to invest $100M to address health care worker shortage

By Phil McCausland—The Biden administration announced Thursday that it will direct $100 million to the National Health Service Corps to help address the health care worker shortage.

Pulled from funding in the American Rescue Plan, the $100 million represents one of the nation’s biggest investment in a program that helps place primary care doctors in communities that have difficulty recruiting and retaining them.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

As the telehealth market shakes out, Teladoc, Amwell feeling pressure from new entrants, more specialization

By Heather Landi—Following a telehealth boom in 2020 propelled by the COVID-19 pandemic, virtual visits have started to stabilize but at elevated levels compared to pre-pandemic demand.

Telehealth use overall has leveled off at levels 38 times higher than before the COVID-19 pandemic, ranging from 13% to 17% of visits across all specialties, according to an analysis from McKinsey released in July.

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

College students struggle with mental health as pandemic drags on

By Susan Svrluga and Nick Anderson—People handed flowers to strangers on campus this week, and wrote encouraging notes in chalk. Students played with baby goats and tail-wagging dogs brought in to comfort them.  

To view the original article in its entirety, click here.

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