Hello,

Welcome to Dispensed, Business Insider’s weekly healthcare newsletter, in which we’re feeling very grateful for last week’s long weekend. I can definitely appreciate the benefits of a four-day workweek – at least amid a pandemic.

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FILE PHOTO: A sign marks the headquarters of Moderna Therapeutics, which is developing a vaccine against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Cambridge, Massachusetts, U.S., May 18, 2020.   REUTERS/Brian Snyder

Foto: Moderna Therapeutics seen during COVID-19 in Massachusetts Source: Reuters

How Moderna became one of the most important biotech upstarts of all time

The week might’ve been short, but it was productive for the race to develop a vaccine to treat the novel coronavirus.

Merck, the $190 billion New Jersey-based drugmaker with the only effective Ebola vaccine, joined the race to develop a vaccine, with two candidates slated to go into human trials in 2020, Andrew Dunn reports.

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As a reminder, here’s a look at some of the top vaccine candidates to watch.

Merck’s peer Gilead Sciences is leading the search for an effective treatment for COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus.

This week, I took a look at the three-decade history of Gilead, the company behind one of the most promising treatments for COVID-19, remdesivir. The company has a long history in antivirals, dating back to the 90s. I have to say, I had a lot of fun looking through Gilead’s 1992 S-1 from its initial public offering while reporting out the story.

Even with an effective vaccine, top pharmaceutical execs said Thursday that there’d be several major challenges to using them to end the pandemic. That includes everything from having enough vials to making sure there’s equitable distribution of the vaccine.

But in the meantime, Andrew took a closer look at Moderna, arguably the most important young biotech in the race to develop a vaccine right now.

You can read the full story here:

The untold story of Moderna as the biotech’s coronavirus vaccine faces a test that could make it one of the most consequential startups of all time

One Medical IPO opening bell

Foto: One Medical rings the bell at the NASDAQ the day of its initial public offering. Source: Nasdaq

The pandemic is changing how Americans go to the doctor

Doctors treating coronavirus patients are trying some unusual tactics. Yeji Lee reports on the teams of healthcare workers spending their days flipping seriously ill coronavirus patients onto their stomachs to help them breathe. Experts told her it’s saving lives.

We’ve spent some time in this newsletter talking about where the money from the CARES Act has gone to help medical practices financially hit hard by the pandemic.

Last Friday, Kimberly Leonard reported on the organizations that have returned the money they received, including CVS Health, Walmart, and Cigna.

Here’s why they’re giving up millions.

Meanwhile, clinics and doctors who get paid by Medicaid to treat the poor are still waiting on their stimulus cash, two months after Trump signed the stimulus bill. Kimberly has the full story on the delay.

The pandemic has hit primary care practices particularly hard, leading to furloughs, layoffs, and pay cuts. Over the past few weeks, I caught up with eight of the primary care companies like One Medical, ChenMed, and Iora Health looking to upend how primary care is delivered.

Top execs at the companies told me about how they transitioned largely in-person practices online, how they’re faring financially, and what they’re planning for during this pandemic period.

You can read the full story here:

How 8 primary-care companies are building a new future for medicine during the coronavirus pandemic

Buoy can help you figure out your health condition

Foto: Buoy’s team, which works with AI to help you figure out your health problems. Source: Buoy Health

Healthcare startups that are poised to take off amid the pandemic

As we brace for the subsequent waves of the pandemic, we’re getting a better sense of the role technology could play in making future responses more effective.

For instance, Google is teaming up with hospital chain HCA Healthcare and technology consulting firm SADA to track data on the novel coronavirus, Blake Dodge reports. Called the National Response Portal, it’ll collect information such as how many hospital beds are in use, test results, and ventilator use. It won’t collect personal information, Blake reports.

For better or for worse, the pandemic has also set up some health-tech startups for success.

Blake teamed up with our tech colleague Tyler Sonnemaker to ask 13 top venture capital investors which startups they think will thrive amid the pandemic. They identified 26 companies to keep an eye on.

You can read the full list here:

Meet the 26 healthcare startups that top VCs say are poised to take off amid the coronavirus pandemic

Lastly – Blake wrote about a lab director who told Wall Street analysts which coronavirus tests are the most accurate. Something to keep in mind if you’re looking to get tested, either for the live virus or for antibodies.

What are you doing for fun while remaining social distant this summer? Send your plans/hobbies/news tips to me at lramsey@businessinsider.com, or you can reach the entire team at healthcare@businessinsider.com.

– Lydia