Mar 4, 2020 - Economy & Business

Wearable defibrillator maker Element Science raises $146 million

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Element Science, a San Francisco-based developer of wearable cardioverter defibrillators, raised $146 million in Series C funding co-led by Deerfield Healthcare and Qiming Venture Partners US.

Why it matters: The U.S. mortality rate from cardiovascular disease has stalled out, after decades of rapid descent. There had been a widespread expectation that cancer would overtake cardio in 2020 as America's top killer, but that's begun to look less likely.

  • Other investors include Cormorant Asset Management, Invus Opportunities, Third Rock Ventures, and GV.

The bottom line: Element Sciences' "personal defibrillator is designed to detect and correct life-threatening arrhythmias in patients with an elevated, temporary risk, such as following treatment for heart failure or due to other conditions. The company estimates that more than 500,000 patients in the U.S. fit into this category on an annual basis, while sudden cardiac death kills about 325,000 people per year," writes FierceBiotech's Conor Hale.

Go deeper: Health care IPOs had a very good 2019

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CDC: 6% U.S. patients with coronavirus had underlying health conditions

Photo: John Nacion/NurPhoto via Getty Images

Nearly 6% of reported U.S. patients who tested positive for the novel coronavirus also had underlying health conditions, which typically led to more hospitalizations and the need for intensive care, according to new data out Tuesday from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Why it matters: Based on preliminary U.S. data, people with underlying conditions such as diabetes mellitus, chronic lung disease and cardiovascular disease appear to be at higher risk for severe COVID-19–associated disease than those without these underlying conditions.

Go deeperArrow18 hours ago - Health

Vaccine developer SutroVax raises $110 million in Series D funding

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

SutroVax, a Foster City, Calif.-based developer of a pneumonia vaccine, raised $110 million in Series D funding co-led by RA Capital Management and Janus Henderson Investors.

Why it matters: Its lead candidate is a more-encompassing alternative to Pfizer's Prevnar 13, a $6 billion per-year vaccine that reportedly is seeing a prescription bump from those worried about the coronavirus. Prevnar won't prevent someone from being infected, but some believe that it could help ward off subsequent pneumonia.

Plant-based meats maker Impossible Foods raises $500 million in new funding

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Impossible Foods, a Redwood City, California-based maker of plant-based protein products, raised $500 million in Series F funding led by Mirae Asset Global Investments.

Why it matters: This massive round closed last week. Not only is that notable in our new abnormal, confirming what we heard last week about venture capital willingness to cut checks, but it also should help Impossible handle short-term business disruptions.