Mar 8, 2017

Virta raises $37 million to "reverse" Type 2 diabetes

Virta Health, a San Francisco-based digital health startup that wants to "reverse Type 2 diabetes," has raised $37 million in venture capital funding. Backers include Venrock, Allen & Co.,Obvious Ventures, Redmile Group and Scifi VC. The company is led by Sami Iniken, founder of online real estate platform Trulia (now owned by Zillow).

Why it matters: Reversing diabetes without drugs or surgery is a pretty audacious goal, so points here for bold vision. And the company already has the public endorsement of a former chief scientific and medical officer of the American Diabetes Association. The basic idea is to obsessively monitor food intake, which Virta claims has proven effective in reversing (not managing) Type 2 in 87% of recent clinical trial patients. Yes, there will need to many many more clinical trials before this technology is proven out.

Bottom line: "Most people with the disease end up having to constantly monitor their blood sugar with the prick of a needle and diabetic pills or can "cure" it with bariatric surgery. However, type 2 diabetes (also know as adult onset diabetes) only affects those afflicted with it if their sugar levels go too high or too low. Thus, monitoring every carb you swallow is another measure in keeping the disease at bay." ― Sarah Buhr

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Updated 23 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Trump administration to eliminate nuclear waivers tied to Iran deal

Pompeo testifies on Iran in February. Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images

The U.S. is ending waivers that had allowed foreign companies to work at Iran's civilian nuclear facilities, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced on Wednesday.

Why it matters: This will eliminate most elements of U.S. sanctions relief still in place two years after President Trump withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Pompeo said "continued nuclear escalation" made the move necessary, but critics warn it will encourage further Iranian enrichment.

Top Senate Democrat says State Dept. is working on new Saudi arms deal

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefs reporters on May 20. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/pool/AFP via Getty Images

Senate Foreign Relations ranking member Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) wrote in a CNN op-ed on Wednesday that he learned that the State Department is currently working to sell thousands of additional precision-guided bombs to Saudi Arabia.

Why it matters: Democrats say that Steve Linick, the State Department inspector general who was ousted on Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's recommendation, was investigating the administration's previous effort to sell weapons to Saudi Arabia without congressional approval.