UPMC and Merck (NYSE: MRK), known as MSD outside the United States and Canada, today announced that Infectious Disease Connect Inc., a UPMC Enterprises telemedicine-enabled company offering solutions for treatment of infectious diseases to hospitals, has combined with Merck’s ILÚM Health Solutions, a provider of technology and services to support infectious disease management, clinical decision-support and precision antibiotic therapy.
“The addition of ILÚM’s platform and capabilities arms Infectious Disease Connect’s physicians with an important tool to accelerate informed decision-making for the hospitals and patients they serve,” said David Zynn, president of Infectious Disease Connect. “Combining our respective expertise and resources positions us to enhance the care of patients with infections, optimize antimicrobial therapy, lower costs and reduce the potential for drug resistance.”
As part of this agreement, UPMC Enterprises and Merck Global Health Innovation Fund each are investing $5 million to support development of customer offerings and business growth for the newly combined entity. UPMC will retain a majority stake in the combined company.
Infectious Disease Connect has established a telemedicine solution for infectious disease care enabling doctors to access the expertise of an infectious disease specialist to facilitate timely diagnosis and treatment of patients under their care. With ILÚM’s platform, physicians and pharmacists will receive real-time antimicrobial usage and resistance data from partner hospitals to help them select appropriate therapy, while managing costs, toxicity and the potential for further resistance and transmission of infection. ILÚM uses machine learning to evaluate a patient’s demographic factors, medication history, past hospitalizations and other data to generate individualized treatment recommendations.
ILÚM also has developed a public health surveillance platform in conjunction with the New York State Department of Health to track and limit the spread of drug-resistant organisms and other infectious disease threats, including COVID-19.
“The rising level of resistance to antimicrobials remains a serious threat to public health, food safety and global security,” said Paul Edwards, chief executive officer, ILÚM. “This combination marries the excellence of Infectious Disease Connect’s physicians and telemedicine platform with the real-time intelligence needed to effectively manage increasingly complex and life-threatening infectious diseases, as seen in this current pandemic.”
With its expanded capabilities and efficiencies, the new Infectious Disease Connect aims to address the nationwide shortage of infectious disease physicians, the rapidly rising risk of hospital-acquired infections and inappropriate antimicrobial usage, which are estimated to cost hospitals more than $40 billion annually. The company can provide hospitals with infectious disease expertise and tools to help meet new federal regulations requiring evidence-based antimicrobial stewardship programs that produce measurable results.
Infectious Disease Connect, headquartered in Pittsburgh, will continue to serve ILÚM’s hospital customers and integrate most of its employees. The expanded company now serves hospitals in nine states.