Health Care

Anthem invests in kidney-care startup Somatus

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Anthem is making a “strategic investment” in kidney care startup Somatus and embarking on a multi-year value-based care partnership with the company, the health insurance giant announced Wednesday.

Somatus will provide clinical services to Anthem’s Medicare Advantage enrollees with chronic kidney disease and end-stage kidney disease beginning this month. The startup also develops technology that analyzes data and flags patients at risk for developing kidney disease and identifies possible next steps for care teams.

The kidney care company contracts with health plans, health systems, and nephrology and primary care practices to provide care to patients who have or are at risk of developing kidney disease. That includes helping patients navigate their care and mitigating obstacles such as transportation and access to nutritious food.

Somatus aims to prevent disease progression and lower costs through early detection, more tightly coordinated care, and increased use of transplants and home dialysis.

“Investing in and partnering with Somatus ensures consumers with kidney disease enrolled in our affiliated health plans will receive industry-leading personalized, in-home care and resources they need to improve their health and wellbeing,” Elena McFann, president of Anthem’s Medicare business, said in a news release.

Health insurers lately have been striking partnerships to manage patients vulnerable to permanent kidney failure. This trend coincides with end-stage renal disease patients becoming eligible this year to enroll in Medicare Advantage plans for the first time.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Minnesota inked a value-based care plan with DaVita Kidney Care in April and Cigna partnered with Monogram Health in March. Cricket Health raised $83.5 million, including investments from Cigna and Blue Shield of California in August.

Anthem and Somatus did not disclose financial details of the investment. Somatus has raised $140.1 million since its founding in 2016, according to data compiled by Crunchbase.

Somatus most recently raised $60.1 million this year, following a $64 million Series C funding round disclosed in 2020. The startup’s investors include UnitedHealth Group’s Optum Ventures, hedge fund Deerfield Management and Town Hall Ventures, a venture-capital firm co-founded by former Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services acting Administrator Andy Slavitt.

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