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5 of The Most Innovative Companies in Healthcare Right Now

Companies that are stepping away from the traditional method of looking at our health...

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With the average adult now spending over half a day online, we have access to information like never before. And there’s plenty of it about. The problem is, it’s often conflicting and sometimes sensational, designed to shock us into making a life decision, like quitting smoking, putting the cork back in the bottle, or treating life-threatening diseases.

Most of these scare tactics shame us into taking action, with health and nutrition companies making us feel unworthy, depicting a future in which we won’t be around for our grandchildren. Forcing us into taking decisions over our health that we don’t feel comfortable with.

Thankfully, the panorama is changing, with companies stepping away from the traditional method of looking at our health and innovating ways of improving it. Let’s check out some of the most forward-thinking names in the $3.7 trillion global wellness industry right now.

1. 22nd Century Group, Inc (XXII)

As the name suggests, you’d expect this company to have an eye on the future. 22nd Century takes a different approach to smoking. No, they’re not still peddling the dwindling benefits of cancer sticks. But instead of scaring you into quitting, their mission is to reduce the harmful effects of smoking. Through their plant breeding techniques and genetic engineering technology, they can actually control and regulate the level of nicotine in their tobacco plant. Which means they can make cigarettes that are practically nicotine-free (with up to 97 percent less than conventional tobacco).

Published clinical studies have proven that their VLN (very low nicotine) products are remarkably effective as a smoking cessation aid. Yet the goal of this company is twofold; to provide vital support for a person who wants to quit, or to give those who want to keep on smoking the right to do so, without enduring such harmful effects on their health. They’re also starting to get into the cannabis-based products for human health and wellness, thinking differently about these taboo crops and finding better uses for them.

The FDA announced an official plan in July to reduce the levels of nicotine in cigarettes to non-addictive levels, prompting significant interest in 22nd Century's products.

2. Brigham Health & Women’s Hospital (BWH)

What’s so forward-thinking about a traditional hospital? One that looks beyond its boundaries and recognizes healthcare opportunities outside of the United States. The healthcare market is global and so is the need for healthcare services. Brigham Health understands that delivery of healthcare can greatly impact the cost, and is at the forefront of developing cutting-edge services and remote programs, including apps and YouTube videos, that can be used to meet the needs of a growing population.

They were able to significantly improve HIV treatment and plan of care in the US by following methods used in developing countries, like Haiti and parts of Africa. They also decreased medical expenses of HIV patients by 40 percent and have been recognized by the US News and World Report as a top ranking hospital in nearly all areas of medicine. Brigham Health currently services patients in the US and a further 120 countries around the world.

3. Certara

Recently acquired for a massive $850 million by leading alternative investments firm ETQ, Certara’s award-winning innovations have been recognized by key opinion leaders worldwide, entering into partnerships with commercial clients and academic institutions, as well as collaborating with regulatory bodies, including the FDA. Their consulting and decision support technology helps clients to improve health outcomes and speed up drug development, which means getting cures onto the market quicker.

By taking care of regulatory issues, drug development plans, regulatory writing and submission services, pharma and biotech companies can focus on innovation. They can continue to develop cures and leave the vital admin and market roll out to an expert party. Which means that patients get quicker access to the drugs they need, while biopharma companies ensure compliance, safety and efficiency.

4. Guardant Health

Tipped by Forbes as one of the next billion-dollar startups, Guardant Health is making major breakthroughs in the cancer space, innovating a simple blood test for cancer patients so that they can avoid painful and invasive biopsies when analyzing tumors. With high-powered investors including Lightspeed Venture Partners and Sequoia Capital, the company’s “liquid biopsy” makes use of DNA from the cancerous tumors found in patients’ blood and monitors the progression of the disease. This helps oncologists make informed and actionable decisions about suitable treatment plans.

While there are other companies in the liquid biopsy space, Guardant Health captures around 95 percent of the market. Negotiating with patients’ insurers to make the test accessible to more people and democratizing an otherwise costly procedure.

5. Verily

Making Fast Company’s list of top 10 innovative healthcare companies of 2017, this life sciences firm is putting health data to work. Formerly part of Google Life Sciences, Verily is now a top innovator in experimental health, creating devices that can track and monitor our health and wellbeing. Some of their initiatives include a smart contact lens that can monitor blood sugar levels, and a stabilizing spoon, The Level, to make life easier for sufferers of Parkinson’s disease.

On a mission “to make the world’s health data useful,” the company has teamed up with biotech giant, Sanofi, to produce a data management platform for people with diabetes, and announced projects to relieve mosquito-borne diseases, among other innovative plans. Watch this space as Verily makes inroads in data to help people around the world enjoy healthier lives.

If your experience with the American healthcare system has left you feeling jaded or you’re unsatisfied with the treatment plan you’ve received, have a little faith. Thanks to scientific advancements and innovative companies springing up like weeds, your health is now big business. Prevention and cure can only continue to improve as further investments are made.

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