AstraZeneca, a British pharmaceuticals giant and one of the major manufacturers of COVID-19 vaccines worldwide, has invested in Huma, a health start-up that provides software for doctors to monitor patients remotely and conducts trials virtually, reported CNBC.

It’s the first time the pharmaceutical giant has invested in a start-up and indicates the commitment to innovation and the evolution of health care in a digital age. The two companies have already partnered previously, with AstraZeneca utilizing Huma’s software to conduct virtual trials.

The deal, estimated to be worth around $33 million, also comes with the agreement that Huma would acquire the disease management platform for asthma and heart failure patients created by AstraZeneca called AMAZE. It’s a move that AstraZeneca CEO and co-founder Dan Vahdat believes will position Huma to be the “extended digital health arm” for the company.

“With Huma, we are accelerating AstraZeneca’s ambition to achieve earlier diagnosis and treatment for patients with chronic diseases so they can lead better, more fulfilling lives,” said Karan Arora, chief commercial digital officer at AstraZeneca.

Investing in Innovation and Heart Health with HART

Over 16 million people die each year from heart disease in the U.S., and cardiovascular disease is the number one killer globally. Over 127 million Americans over the age of 20 currently live with the condition. With Americans able to resume more activities with the pandemic easing, the IQ Healthy Hearts ETF (HART) is positioned to benefit while also donating portions of its profits to the American Heart Association.

HART seeks to provide exposure to companies that diagnose and treat cardiovascular disease, companies that have above-average involvement in healthy food and wellness products, companies that offer solutions for people looking to track their fitness and participate in regular exercise, and companies that provide health education resources through IT services.

The fund seeks to track the IQ Candriam Healthy Hearts Index and invests across all market caps and in the U.S. and emerging markets but does exclude some countries, including China. Companies are screened thematically for heart health-related revenue and/or impact to heart health objectives as laid out by the fund. The index also utilizes an exclusionary screen for companies that aren’t compliant with the UN Global Compact or engage in certain activities such as animal testing, nuclear exposure, and gambling. Companies that operate in countries with oppressive regimes are also excluded.

Primary sectors included in the index as of June 2021 were healthcare, consumer discretionary, and consumer staples.

AstraZeneca is carried within the fund at a 5.3% weight.

HART carries an expense ratio of 0.45% and currently invests in 80 companies.

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