Apple Raids Medical Community for Wearable Tech Experts

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Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) continues to hire various medical technology experts as speculation about its rumored iWatch or similar wearable tech product intensifies. According to two sources who spoke to Reuters, one of Apple’s most recent hires is Divya Nag, a self-described “medical technology enthusiast” who joined a research and development team that is working on an unknown healthcare product at the Cupertino, California-based company. The Stanford-educated researcher is the founder of StartX Med, “an organization designed to accelerate the development of high-potential entrepreneurs in the life sciences and medicine,” according to her LinkedIn profile.

Nag is just the latest of at least half a dozen experts that Apple has hired from the medical community over the past year, Reuters reports. Apple’s medical tech expert hiring spree was first reported on in July by Mark Gurman at 9to5Mac. According to 9to5Mac’s sources, Apple hired prominent medical sensor experts from companies such as AccuVein, C8 MediSensors, and Senseonics.

Earlier this year, Apple hired Nancy Dougherty, a medical sensor expert with impressive wearable technology experience. Per her LinkedIn profile, Dougherty last worked for Sano Intelligence, a “Health, Wellness and Fitness” startup that was developing “a novel wearable sensor system.” Before her stint at Sano, Dougherty also worked at Proteus Digital Health, where she helped develop “an FDA regulated Class II medical device; a Bluetooth-enabled electronic ‘Band-Aid’ that monitors heart rate, respiration, motion, and temperature, as well as detects technologically enabled ‘Smart Pills’ that are ingested and activated in the stomach.”

Around the same time that Apple hired Dougherty, the iPhone maker also picked up Ravi Narasimhan, the former vice president of biosensor technology research and development at Vital Connect. According to Narasimhan’s LinkedIn profile, one of his responsibilities included development of “biosensor technology and algorithms for remote physiological monitoring with wearable medical devices.” However, Narasimhan was not the first employee that Apple poached from Vital Connect. Vital Connect’s Nima Ferdosi joined Apple in November, according to his LinkedIn profile. More recently, Alexander Chan — another Vital Connect employee — has also moved to Apple, according to Reuters’ sources.

Another prominent hire for Apple is Michael O’Reilly, the former executive vice president of medical affairs and chief medical officer of Masimo Corp. (NASDAQ:MASI), reports MobiHealthNews. Although O’Reilly’s LinkedIn profile does not reveal his new position at Apple, the medical device expert participated in a meeting between several Apple executives and officials from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration that took place in December, according to the FDA’s public calendar.

Finally, in January, Apple hired Marcelo Lamego, a medical sensor expert from Cercacor, a California-based medical device company that specializes in non-invasive health monitoring technologies. As noted by NetworkWorld, the Stanford-educated doctor led Cercacor’s efforts to develop the Pronto-7, a non-invasive medical device that can detect a patient’s hemoglobin levels, pulse rate, blood oxygen saturation levels, and perfusion index.

Although Apple has yet to reveal what its team of biotechnology and medical sensor experts are working on, many industry watchers believe the company is developing a health-monitoring wrist-worn device that has been unofficially dubbed the “iWatch.” According to insider sources cited by 9to5Mac, Apple has also developed a fitness tracking and health-monitoring app known as “Healthbook” that will be included as part of iOS 8.

A rumor recently surfaced on an anonymous information-sharing platform that suggested Apple’s health-monitoring device is actually a new type of EarPods that can monitor a user’s heart rate and blood pressure. According to KGI Securities analyst Ming-Chi Kuo via 9to5Mac, customers will likely find out what Apple has been working on in the third quarter of this year, when the company is expected to unveil several new products, including the next-generation iPhones.

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