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March 13, 2020

The 10 most innovative health care companies, according to Fast Company

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    Fast Company on Tuesday released its 2020 edition of the "World's Most Innovative Companies" list, which recognizes more than 400 enterprises, including 10 companies in the health care sector and many more that do health care-related work.

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    The list recognizes 434 organizations from 44 sectors, including health care and biotech. For each sector, the publication included a list of the 10 most innovative companies. In addition, Fast Company recognized the top 50 most innovative companies overall.

    To identify the world's most innovative companies, Fast Company's editors and writers "sought out groundbreaking businesses" and assessed "each company on a combination of innovation and impact, with a focus on what it's accomplished in the past year."


    Fast Company's overall top 50 list features four companies that fall into the publication's categories of "health care" or "biotech":

    • Merck (No. 18) for developing, manufacturing, and deploying an FDA-approved Ebola vaccine in Congo;
    • Sage Therapeutics (No. 21) for developing Zulresso, the first FDA-approved treatment for postpartum depression;
    • Vertex (No. 41) for developing Trikafta, a drug that has the potential to improve breathing for 90% of patients with cystic fibrosis; and
    • Maven Clinic (No. 42) for providing pregnancy, childbirth, and fertility care as part of an employee's benefits package.

    In the "health care" sector, the 10 most innovative companies, according to Fast Company, are:

    1. Maven Clinic;
    2. Prime Therapeutics, for using data analytics to detect medical fraud accurately;
    3. Suki, for building a voice transcription service that utilizes artificial intelligence (AI) so doctors can speak their notes during an exam, instead of pausing to write them down;
    4. Lyra Health, for providing a variety of in-person and remote behavioral health services;
    5. Paragon Biosciences, for developing QuantX, an AI tool that has helped radiologists detect breast cancer 20% more accurately;
    6. Xealth, for developing a platform that allows providers to easily order products and other services for their patients;
    7. RxSense, for helping patients get lower prices for their prescriptions;
    8. Alma, for helping therapists run private practices affordably through a shared workspace;
    9. Northwell Health, for developing the "hospital of the future" equipped with efficient surgical equipment and a new lab facility that can process 55 million test tubes each year; and
    10. Zebra Medical Vision, for developing its Multi-Modality AI Triage Solution, which can identify internal bleeding faster than ever before.

    In the biotech sector, the 10 most innovative companies, Fast Company, are:

    1. Merck;
    2. Sage Therapeutics;
    3. Vertex;
    4. Theranica Bioelectronics, for utilizing electrical impulses to treat migraine pain;
    5. Gelesis, for developing Plenity, an FDA-approved weight loss aid made of naturally derived ingredients to help patients feel full;
    6. Avita Medical, for developing "spray on" skin cells that has reduced burn victims' need for skin grafts by 35%;
    7. Syqe Medical, for developing the Syqe Inhaler, the first programmable inhalation device that is paired with cannabis;
    8. Intermountain Healthcare, for developing the largest single-population genomics study in history;
    9. Pivot Bio, for developing the first-ever nitrogen-producing microbial product that's available commercially, which has helped farmers grow more corn; and
    10. AbCellera, for utilizing a body's natural immune system to help fight a variety of conditions, including cancer and arthritis pain.

    In addition, Fast Company's lists recognized several organizations in other sectors that have significant health care interests, including:

    • Apple, for developing the Apple Arcade, a collection of over 100 games for the iPhone, iPad, Mac, and Apple TV that customers can access for $5 a month;
    • Ayana, for developing a telemedicine therapy service that utilizes an algorithm to match users with therapists based on their gender, orientation, ethnicity, culture, class, language, and values;
    • Calm, for creating an mobile app that helps users fall asleep and maintain mental fitness;
    • Carrot, for its smoking cessation program that includes a carbon monoxide breath sensor approved by FDA, a mobile app, behavioral counseling, and more;
    • Civica Rx, for developing generic drugs at low prices to help fight increasing health care costs and drug shortages;
    • FridaBaby, for launching FridaMom, a wellness line the includes hospital-stay and postpartum products for "the ickier moments of giving birth";
    •, for turning smartphone cameras into diagnostic tools for chronic kidney disease and other conditions;
    • Immuta, for building software to help health care and other businesses handle and share large troves of sensitive data while remaining in compliance with privacy laws;
    • Michigan Engineering Neurobionics Lab, for developing robotic prosthetic legs that adopt an open-source platform, are 20% lighter, and offer a "near-biological range of movement at the knee and ankle";
    • Microsoft, for developing the HoloLens 2, a mixed-reality headset that features an improved field of view over the first HoloLens, as well as gesture controls and improved 3D resolution;
    • Roam Robotics, for developing an alternative to knee surgery through a low-cost, lightweight knee and ankle exoskeleton;
    • Shield AI, for launching drones to survey dangerous areas before first responders enter them;
    • Strava, for its efforts to help cities improve conditions for bicyclists and runners;
    • Truth Initiative, for developing ads aimed at curbing the teen vaping epidemic;
    • Vicarious Surgical, for providing surgeons with small robotic assistants to make surgery both safer and less expensive;
    •, for developing an AI program that can analyze the CT scan of a stroke patient and organize the clinicians and facilities the patient will need;
    • Warby Parker, for adding contact lenses to their direct-to-consumer eyewear line; and
    • Zipline, for developing a drone network that can deliver medical goods as fast as 80 MPH and as far as a 100-mile round trip (Fast Company, "The World's Most Innovative Companies," accessed 3/12; Fast Company, "Honorees by Sector," accessed 3/12; Fast Company methodology, 3/10).

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