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Cigna aims to support healthcare start-ups with new corporate venture fund

Presently in the process of acquiring Express Scripts, global health services company Cigna has announced the launch of its new corporate venture fund, Cigna Ventures.

Supporting healthcare start-ups and encouraging innovation across all areas within the industry, the business has committed $250mn of capital to Cigna Ventures to unlock new opportunities which will bring further improvements in care quality, affordability, choice, and greater simplicity to customers and clients.

The new venture fund will be focused on companies across three strategic areas: insights and analytics; digital health and retail; and care delivery/management and enable the business to identify, assess and sponsor early-stage innovation ideas that warrant deeper exploration through focused pilot and test-and-learn activities with the goal of realising meaningful business value.

“Cigna’s commitment to improving the health, well-being and sense of security of the people we serve is at the front and center of everything we do,” explained Tom Richards, Senior Vice President and Global Lead, Strategy And Business Development at Cigna.

“The venture fund will enable us to drive innovation beyond our existing core business operations, and incubate new ideas, opportunities and relationships that have the potential for long-term business growth and to help our customers.”

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The fund builds on Cigna's existing venture activity, including collaboration with five venture capital partners and an equal number of existing direct investments, such as leading the C1 round of financing with digital therapeutics company, Omada Health.

“Our partnership with Cigna has been about so much more than capital,” noted Sean Duffy, co-founder and CEO of Omada.

“The ability to collaborate with, learn from, and integrate deeply with a health services company so dedicated to delivering a 21st-century care experience to its customers and clients has enabled us to accelerate innovation, advance our capabilities and grow our customer base.”

Cigna maintains sales capability in over 30 countries and jurisdictions, and has more than 95mn customer relationships throughout the world.

The move comes as the threat of Amazon, Apple and various players aim to further transform the healthcare industry, and provide further choice for patients in how they manage their care. Healthcare providers such as Humana and UnitedHealth have also launched venture funds, with many others now looking towards the advantages of such an undertaking.

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