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Wednesday, Feb 8, 2023
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STARTUPS & INNOVATIONS

PARTNERSHIPS
PatientFi LLC this month announced a co-marketing partnership with fellow Irvine-based Allergan Aesthetics to provide financing options for patients interested in Natrelle breast implants.
The partnership comes on the heels of a study that demonstrated 85% of 117 prospective breast augmentation patients said a monthly payment plan would motivate them to schedule a surgery sooner.
“Breast augmentation is the most common procedure performed by plastic surgeons in the U.S.,” said Todd Watts, chief executive of PatientFi. “The patient population is getting younger each year, and the procedure is considered more expensive than many noninvasive aesthetic treatments. Our patient-friendly financing plans reduce the barrier of affordability for these patients and can help medical providers dramatically increase their case volume.”
“We know that over 5 million women are considering elective breast augmentation in the next two years, and yet 75% of patients are unable to pay cash for their procedure,” said Richard Egan, vice president of marketing for plastic surgery and regenerative medicine at Allergan Allergan.
“Allergan Aesthetics is committed to providing patients access to the treatments and procedures they are seeking, which is why partnering with PatientFi was a clear choice to fulfill this need in the marketplace.”
PatientFi said it is ranked highly amongst patients for its high approval rates, soft credit check application, friendly 0% APR promotional financing plans ranging from 6 to 24 months and its five-star rated customer service, among other features.

JobzMall of Irvine has partnered with the Santa Ana Chamber of Commerce to develop a local community of prospective employees and employers.
“Addressing the real needs and problems of the Santa Ana Community can only be done with a tailored approach and bringing everyone together” said Chief Executive Nathan Candaner, noting the new partnership aims to boost the local economy by $30 million.
JobzMall is a job-searching platform that presents career opportunities via industry-specific “buildings” and employer “stores” in a virtual environment that reflects a mall.
JobzMall said it will offer job seekers the ability to upload video resumes and other application materials as well as connect to resources to build skills for future job requirements.
Local organizations participating on the platform include Behr Painting Co., CNI College, Goodwill, High School Inc., Santa Ana Work Center, and Wells Fargo, among others.

FINANCING
Device maker Nininger Medical Inc. of Brea was recently awarded a $256,000 Small Business Innovation Research Phase I grant from the National Science Foundation.
Funds will support research and development efforts for transcatheter tricuspid valve replacement (TTVR) technology, the company said.
About 1.6 million patients in the U.S. suffer from tricuspid regurgitation, a condition that causes blood to flow in the wrong direction and can lead to right-sided heart failure.
Current therapies for U.S. patients are limited; Abbott Laboratories and Edwards Lifesciences Corp. have only received European approvals for tricuspid regurgitation thus far.
Nininger said it is focused on developing valve leaflets ten times thinner than the pericardial tissue material currently used in most heart valve devices.  
“One of the main challenges faced by the medical device industry in the development of a transcatheter tricuspid valve has been creating a design that can be compressed into a small enough catheter to deliver successfully,” said Chief Medical Officer Lowie Van Assche.
“The use of thin film in this valve, rather than pericardium, will significantly reduce the volume of the valve material, thereby enabling a much smaller delivery catheter profile.”
The device is also expected to enable a simplified method for valve manufacturing, the company said.
Chief Executive Daniel Anderson, who previously held R&D and engineering roles at JenaValve Technology Inc. and Edwards Lifesciences, both based in Irvine, founded Nininger in 2019. 

MERGER
ConcertoHealth, an Aliso Viejo-based provider of home health services founded in 2004, merged with at-home primary care firm Perfect Health of Massachusetts this month.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The surviving company, ConcertoCare, is now based in New York and backed by healthcare investment firm Deerfield Management Co. It is now led by Chief Executive Julian Harris, a Deerfield partner and former senior vice president at Cigna.  
“We treat patients as soloists in their own concertos, accompanied by a supportive care team that partners with them, their other providers and caregivers to achieve their health goals and deliver care where seniors are best served: in their homes,” Harris said in a statement.
ConcertoCare said its model improves overall health quality and outcomes by reducing hospital admits by 47% and achieving an increase of 38% in annual wellness visits for the most vulnerable patient populations in the U.S.
Ahead of the merger, ConcertoHealth raised about $45.2 million in investment funds from Arboretum Ventures, Deerfield and Highland Capital Partners, among others, according to regulatory filings.
ConcertoCare has not disclosed plans for its Aliso Viejo operations.

NEW HIRES
jCyte Inc., a Newport Beach-based stem cell therapy developer, named Shannon Blolock its chief executive.
The news comes as jCyte prepares to advance its jCell therapy, which treats a blinding-eye disease known as retinitis pigmentosa, toward its pivotal phase 3 trials.
Blalock joined jCtye as chief operating officer last July. He previously served as global development leader of portfolio development and R&D strategy for Santen Pharmaceuticals. Prior to joining Santen, he co-founded AltheaDx and spent more than a decade at GlaxoSmithKline.
jCyte entered a $252 million licensing agreement with Santen last May. The company received $50 million in upfront cash and $12 million in convertible debt. It is also eligible to receive $190 million in future milestone payments as its products are sold in markets outside the U.S., particularly in Asia and Europe.
The deal added to some $47 million the company raised from the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine and several private investors.

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