NIH and Sheba Medical Center (SMC) are partnering to create a pandemic research institute, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from California, Maryland, and Virginia.
- California: Komodo Health announced that it laid of 9% of its staff in an effort to run a "capital efficient business." According to the data analytic firm's LinkedIn page, the company has 802 employees—so the layoff will impact around 72 employees, or Dragons, as the firm calls them. "As many long-time Dragons know, the pandemic introduced new challenges for our business, but it also created an unprecedented opportunity for Komodo to thrive over the past two years. We have seen a massive shift in healthcare delivery driving the need for our solutions, which has supported the largest expansion of the business in our history," said co-founders Arif Nathoo and Web Sun. "But the world is changing again, and the market is in the middle of a period of uncertainty that impacts how our customers make decisions. We believe this is the beginning of a change that may last for many more months, if not years." In addition, Komodo's CFO announced plans to leave by the end of 2022, citing personal reasons. (Bruce, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/14)
- Maryland: NIH and SMC on Dec. 22 announced a partnership to form the Sheba Pandemic Research Institute. Researchers at the institute will work with researchers at the NIH Vaccine Research Center (VRC) to study infectious diseases and look for innovative ways to quickly create new vaccines and biologics for future epidemics and pandemics. According to a news release from the organizations, Daniel Douek, chief of the human immunology section at NIH's VRC, will serve as the institute's senior scientific advisor. (Bean, Becker's Hospital Review, 12/22)
- Virginia: The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) on Dec. 20 announced that it seized more than 379 million doses of potentially deadly fentanyl in 2022. According to the announcement, the agency seized over 50.6 million fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills and over 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder. Fentanyl is currently considered the deadliest drug threat in the country. The DEA has documented a steep nationwide increase in the lethality of fentanyl-laced fake prescription pills. "Just two milligrams of fentanyl, the small amount that fits on the tip of a pencil, is considered a potentially deadly dose," the agency said. Typically, the pills are "made to look identical to real prescription medications—including OxyContin, Percocet, and Xanax—but only contain filler and fentanyl," the DEA said. DEA Administrator Anne Milgram said the agency's 2022 seizures are "enough deadly doses of fentanyl to kill every American." (Chen, Axios, 12/20)