Coronavirus Updates: Cedars Joins Drug Trial, U.S. Consumers Streaming Skyrockets Amid COVID-19, Says Nielsen

Here are the latest headlines regarding how the novel coronavirus is impacting the Los Angeles startup and tech communities. Sign up for our newsletter and follow dot.LA on Twitter for the latest updates.


Cedars-Sinai joins international clinical trial to test COVID-19 drug

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Los Angeles-based hospital system Cedars-Sinai announced Tuesday it is joining an international effort to test the drug remdesivir for treating COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The drug is not FDA-approved but has shown promise in animal testing and in small numbers of humans. Starting this week, Cedars plans to administer the drug intravenously to up to 30 patients currently hospitalized with COVID-19. They will be monitored throughout their hospital stay and their outcomes will be measured against a control group, which will be given a placebo. The U.S. National Institute of Health is sponsoring the trial, which includes dozens of sites around the world, according to the statement.

Gilead Sciences, based in the Bay Area, owns the remdesivir patent. Early this month the company applied for "orphan drug" status in an effort to expedite the clinical trial timeline required by the FDA. That status was granted last week, but the company subsequently requested a withdrawal of the designation. Some health groups expressed concern that orphan status would limit the ability of other organizations to produce treatments in the future. In a statement Gilead said it remains "confident that it can maintain an expedited timeline in seeking regulatory review of remdesivir."

U.S. consumers spend 400 billion minutes streaming content to TVs, says Nielsen

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Coronavirus is forcing Americans to stay at home, and American consumers have watched about 156 billion minutes of streaming content on their televisions during the week of March 16 — a 22% surge from a week earlier, according to a Nielsen analysis. The first three weeks of March saw an estimated 400 billion minutes of streaming an 85% surge from the year-ago period.


Netflix, YouTube, Amazon and Hulu make up the biggest bulk of streaming on TV sets (the study did not include viewers on mobile phones). By the numbers, Netflix and Hulu claimed a smaller share of that viewing than they did last year, according to the data. Netflix claimed 29% of total streaming minutes for the week ending March 22, down from 36% in the same period a year ago. Hulu accounted for 10%, down from 15%. YouTube represented 20%, up from 19%. And Amazon inched up to 9%, from 7%. New services like Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus fueled the "other" category to to 31% from 23%.

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Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

Regard Raises $15M for AI-Powered Software That Help Doctors Diagnose Patients
Courtesy of Regard

Culver City-based health care startup Regard, which uses AI-driven software to help physicians accurately diagnose patients, has raised $15.3 million in Series A funding.

Pasadena-based Calibrate Ventures and Colorado-based Foundry Group led the investment in Regard, formerly known as HealthTensor. Other investors that participated in the round include TenOneTen Ventures, Susa Ventures, Brook Byers of Byers Capital and Dropbox CEO Drew Houston. The new funding will be used to grow Regard’s team and customer base, the company said in a press release.

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This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is dot.LA's Editorial Fellow. Prior to that, she was an editorial intern at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in 'Raises': Regard Secures $15M, MaC Venture Capital Raises $203M for Second Fund
Image by Joshua Letona

This week in “Raises”: A local healthcare startup secured funding to help grow the team and deploy its software to more physicians and hospitals, while Black-led, seed-stage venture capital firm surpassed its goal for its second fund.

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Braid Theory's Plan to Foster the Next Generation of Ocean Tech Startups

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Braid Theory's Plan to Foster the Next Generation of Ocean Tech Startups
Photo courtesy of the Port of Los Angeles.

San Pedro-based Braid Theory is one of the growing number of accelerators in the country looking to grow the so-called blue economy, which spans a range of ocean-related industries and is estimated at $2.5 trillion a year.

The accelerator is accepting online applications until July 18, with its second-ever program kicking off in August.

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