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Omada Health Taps Former Sanofi Executive as Chief Medical Officer

Mary Caffrey
The addition of new a chief medical officer and a new chief commercial officer comes as the digital health provider is poised to scale up delivery of the National Diabetes Prevention Program in Medicare.
Digital provider Omada Health announced 2 key additions to its leadership team Friday, including one that may be a sign of the times: the former global chief medical officer for Sanofi, a leading manufacturer of diabetes and cardiovascular drugs, will now join a company with a mission of reducing the need for therapies.

Paul Chew, MD, formerly of Sanofi, will be Omada’s new chief medical officer, while Omada’s new chief commercial officer will be Tom Schoenherr, who held the same post with the DNA testing company Counsyl, Inc.

Omada works with both insurers, including Humana and Kaiser Permanente, as well as employers to deliver digital behavioral health counseling, supplemented by in-person coaching.

“For the last five years, we’ve worked to establish Omada Health as a leader in digital health, publishing clinically validated results and operating on an outcomes-based revenue structure since Day One,” Omada co-founder and CEO Sean Duffy said in a statement. “Bringing on Paul and Tom, experts in their fields with proven track records for clinical development and scaling healthcare businesses, is the next step in Omada’s evolution. Employers, payers, and health systems know digital health is here to stay, and the companies that will succeed are those that deliver outcomes and scale effectively. We’ve built a team to do exactly that.”

Chew and Schoenherr arrive at Omada as the company makes Medicare reimbursement of the National Diabetes Prevention Program (DPP) a centerpiece of its strategy. Chew’s transition from a major pharmaceutical manufacturer to a company focused on prevention comes as payers are pushing back against the cost of diabetes and cardiovascular therapies; in recent weeks, both Sanofi and rival insulin maker Novo Nordisk have made significant job cuts.

Omada, by contrast, is poised to scale up its ability to deliver DPP. Barring a course change from the incoming Trump administration, CMS will spend 2017 working on rules to let digital providers bring DPP through Medicare starting in January 2018. Schoenherr will play a key role in that process, as the first rule CMS issued on Medicare DPP did not say how digital providers would participate.

Diabetes is a leading cost driver in healthcare. A recent JAMA study1 found that the annual rate of spending growth from the disease was 6.1% between 1996 and 2013. In its announcement of the appointments of Chew and Schoenherr, Omada said that at that pace, diabetes spending could reach the entire current Medicare budget by 2029.

“Diabetes and cardiovascular diseases drove some of the most widespread, most expensive and most preventable healthcare costs,” Chew said in the company’s statement. “Omada’s approach to scaling a proven intervention, and personalizing that intervention through data science, while publishing peer-reviewed evidence, has set an example across the digital health industry. I look forward to continuing to help the company build the medical case for covering the Omada Program.”

During his tenure at Counsyl, Schoenherr increased revenues from $1 million to $100 million. He has also worked as a regional vice president at Quest Diagnostics and at Siemens Healthcare.

“I’ve been in healthcare for more than 2 decades, working with companies ranging from startups to industry leaders,” Schoenherr said in the statement. “Sean and his senior team have spent the last five years making smart decisions about how to grow this business, and have developed a revenue structure that truly puts their money where their mouths are. My expectation is that we can replicate, or even exceed, the success our team delivered at Counsyl.”

Reference

Dieleman JL, Baral R, Birger M, et al. US spending on personal health care and public health, 1996-2013. JAMA. 2016;316(24):2627-2646. doi:10.1001/jama.2016.16885.

 
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