Hello and happy Monday, readers. I hope you had a wonderful weekend!
Fortune got an early peek at a new collaboration between consumer goods giant Procter & Gamble and Thrive Global, the wellness and behavioral health firm led by Arianna Huffington, that seeks to turn some of P&G’s most commonly used products into wellness boosters.
The partnership involves a half dozen P&G brands – including Crest, Oral-B, Pampers, Venus, Secret, and Pantene – and spans both social media marketing campaigns and new internet-connected consumer health devices. The groups announced the initiative at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity in France on Monday.
That includes the Oral-B Sense, an upcoming WiFi-enabled “smart toothbrush” that provides personalized feedback to consumers on their brushing habits. Thrive’s central role across the P&G portfolio will be providing what the company calls behavioral “microsteps” in order to “habit-stack” – i.e, build a positive, affirming mental habit into something consumers may already do every day.
That could include anything from urging people to give themselves a life-affirming message when putting on deodorant in the morning, to singing a song to their babies while changing their diapers, or thinking of three things they’re grateful for while brushing their teeth in the morning and night, Huffington told Fortune in an interview.
Both Huffington and Marc Pritchard, chief brand officer at P&G (a company whose products reach some five billion people), emphasized the potential scope of such a joint campaign.
“Human beings gravitate toward ritual… and P&G products have incredible compliance,” said Huffington. She added that the only way to end widespread burnout among workers – a cause she has long championed, and a reality the World Health Organization declared a workplace crisis just last month – is to build healthier habits, especially when it comes to mental health.
“The habits for the kinds of products that we provide, consumer package goods, is quite high,” said Pritchard. “So it really occurred to us, based on the work that Arianna has done, as well as with our scientists, that the combination of the microsteps for positive physical and emotional wellbeing that Thrive offers, with the habits that our everyday brands provide, could really enhance the consumer experience.
“And so we started working with Arianna and her team to be able to come up with different ways in which we could do that, because we knew that we can align our high quality, superior performing products and they could be even better for the consumers when they stack these positive habits on top.”
Read on for the day’s news.
Investors pump $205 million into Collective Health in SoftBank-led round. Collective health, a med tech company focused on simplifying insurance with an eye on corporate/employer clients, has raised $205 million in a new funding round led by SoftBank’s Vision Fund. The enterprise-focused digital health firm has now snapped up some $434 million in funding since 2013. Collective Health’s main value proposition is to provide an integrated platform for health care providers and the large employers that they do business with (not to mention the employees who use these health plans). (TechCrunch)
Pfizer makes a $11.4 billion gamble on cancer specialist Array BioPharma. Pfizer’s still-relatively-fresh chief executive Albert Bourla has made one of his most prominent M&A moves to date, striking a deal to acquire cancer-focused biotech Array BioPharma for $11.4 billion. That’s a staggering 62% premium on Array’s previous closing price and sent the company’s stock shooting up 57% in Monday trading. The high-priced deal comes on the heels of a high-profile clinical failure for a Pfizer pain drug—and it continues the trend of major drug companies pursuing either cancer or gene therapy biotechs for bolt-on M&As. (Fortune)
THE BIG PICTURE
The difficulty of pitching the end of private health insurance. A new survey by Navigator Research highlights the confusion surrounding “Medicare for All” among average voters. The term itself carries high support; but, when asked more specific questions such as whether or not voters favor eliminating private insurance entirely (as the most aggressive Medicare for All proposals would do), things get a lot more complicated. Here’s the rub laid out in just one part of the survey: Nearly 3 in 4 Democrats think that “Medicare for All” basically amounts to a public option, wherein the choice of a government plan supplements available employer and private insurance. Support for specifically eliminating private insurance drops precipitously and even veers into the red.
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