Spotlight On... FT: Devices and diagnostics now considered cool thanks to convergence with tech titans; NFL, GE disclose 3rd Head Health semifinalists; Novocure details pivotal Optune first-line data; and more...

An article in the Financial Times should delight members of the device world, as it demonstrates changing perceptions of the industry's offerings. "Until fairly recently, devices and diagnostics made up the unfashionable wing of the healthcare industry--the poor relation of big pharma and its blockbuster drugs. It was associated with low-margin knee implants, surgical scalpels and laboratory tests that took days or weeks to deliver a result that, even then, might be wrong," the article begins. "Today, diagnostics companies are indispensable allies of the pharmaceuticals industry in the push for more personalized medicines, helping to match the right drug to the right patient. Medical device companies are pioneering ways to monitor and manage patients' wellbeing," it continues. The industry is receiving a publicity boost thanks to alliances with better known pharmaceutical companies around companion diagnostics, and tech titans like Verily (formerly Google Life Sciences). One of Verily's many med tech alliances is with Boston-based startup Entrega, which is developing an ingestible patch. Quoted in the article is MIT's Robert Langer, who helps run Entegra. Langer's celebrity status makes him one of the device world's de facto spokesmen, further raising its profile. More

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> The National Football League (NFL), Under Armour ($UA), GE ($GE), and the U.S. Department of Commerce's National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) disclosed the semifinalists for the third Head Health Challenge. Each receives $250,000, with the opportunity for one to get an additional $500,000 grand prize. They include honeycomb material company Alba Technic; origami-like cellular structures from Charles Owen, impact-repellent fabric player Corsair Innovations; 6-D impact suspension tech from Dynamic Research and 6D Helmets; as well as force-limiting viscoelastic material from the University of Michigan. More

> Novocure ($NVCR) has disclosed the pivotal Phase III data for its Optune to treat newly diagnosed glioblastoma in combination with temozolomide. The device is already FDA-approved in that indication. More

> Maquet Medical Systems has partnered with ReFlow Medical to distribute the latter's complete line of cardiovascular catheters exclusively in the U.S.  More

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