InnovaHealth Partners Invests in Koelis, a Leader in Prostate Cancer Diagnostics and Treatment

NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Koelis SAS ("Koelis" or the "Company") and InnovaHealth Partners, LP ("InnovaHealth") jointly announced today along with Medevice Partners ("Medevice") that InnovaHealth has made a growth equity investment in Koelis and acquired a majority interest in the Company.

Koelis is a leadership innovator in the market for image–guided systems for prostate cancer diagnosis and treatment. The Company's products have regulatory clearances and have been commercialized in the US, Europe, and most Asian markets. The Koelis Trinity System offers market–leading features including "fusion" imaging, organ tracking, robotic assistance, and focal therapy. The Koelis system is an important new technology that enables urologists to more accurately diagnose prostate cancer and can offer patients less invasive, non–radical treatment choices. The Company is based in Grenoble, France and Boston, Massachusetts, USA, and has an office in Hong Kong.

Antoine Leroy, Koelis Chief Executive Officer, said, "We are very excited to be partnering with InnovaHealth, whose specialization in medical devices will substantially increase the value of our Company. InnovaHealth is the ideal partner to support our Company's global business growth given their proven track record of value creation within their portfolio. Their strategic relationships, global clinician network and capital will be instrumental in the years ahead."

Ccile Real, Medevice President & CEO, added, "As both a close operational and financial partner of Koelis since 2012, we share Antoine's excitement and welcome the InnovaHealth team as we all embark on the next phase of the Company's growth and value creation."

Mortimer "Tim" Berkowitz III, InnovaHealth President & CEO, said, "In transforming the way prostate cancer is diagnosed and treated, we see enormous potential to bring Koelis' differentiated technology to scale in a $2.5 billion global market where it addresses significant unmet clinical needs." U.S. based InnovaHealth is the leading specialist medical device growth private equity firm. The InnovaHealth team manages approximately $200 million and has over 100 years of experience investing in the global medical device market.

Digital Reasoning Announces Strategic Investment from SC Ventures Accelerating Global Expansion of AI Solutions for Communications Surveillance in New Geographies

NASHVILLE, Tenn., Sept. 17, 2019 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Digital Reasoning, a leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) that understands human intentions and behaviors, today announced a strategic investment from SC Ventures, the innovation, ventures and fintech investments unit of Standard Chartered Bank, bringing its Series D–1 funding round total to $40 million. In addition to this investment, Digital Reasoning will partner with Standard Chartered Bank to expand its financial services product offerings in Communications Surveillance across Asia Pacific, the Middle East, and other international markets.

"Digital Reasoning is the leader in communications analytics, identifying and finding key risks and insights from human language and behavior. Doing this requires an increased understanding of diverse languages and contexts across numerous cultures," said Tim Estes, Founder and President of Digital Reasoning. "Standard Chartered is a leading global bank with a very diverse footprint. Through the partnership, we believe we can accelerate our solutions' applicability across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa. Together we will further democratize using AI to understand the languages in markets where these new solutions can be used for good."

The investment from SC Ventures will enable Digital Reasoning to continue its market leadership position in e–communications and Voice Surveillance for Compliance, as well as expand into other adjacent use cases within financial institutions globally. Additionally, it will support Digital Reasoning's efforts to broaden its pre–trained model catalog to support growth in financial markets across Asia, the Middle East, and Africa.

Alex Manson, Global Head of SC Ventures, said: "Fighting misconduct and unethical behavior in financial services is a non–negotiable commitment as a bank, a task rendered even more complex by our digitally connected financial system. Digital Reasoning is a leader in Conduct Surveillance and well–positioned to help our industry fulfill that commitment."

Digital Reasoning's Series D–1 funding round had a first close last year, led by BNP Paribas with participation from Barclays, Square Capital, Goldman Sachs, Nasdaq, Lemhi Ventures, HCA, and the Partnership Fund for New York City. Macquarie subsequently invested in this funding round, with SC Ventures now being the latest investor to contribute.

Media Contact
Randi Schochet | randi.schochet@digitalreasoning.com | +1 212–402–6113

About Digital Reasoning
Digital Reasoning is a global leader in Artificial Intelligence that understands human intentions and behaviors. Our award–winning AI platform automates key tasks and uncovers transformative insights across vast amounts of human communications for many of the world's leading financial services and healthcare organizations. For more information go to www.digitalreasoning.com and follow on Twitter at @dreasoning.

About SC Ventures

SC Ventures is Standard Chartered Bank's innovation, fintech investment and ventures unit. Focused on "rewiring the DNA in banking", SC Ventures aims to develop an innovation culture and mindset, deepen capabilities and experiment with new business models through an open platform and network of people and partnerships. It runs an eXellerator innovation lab network across Singapore, Shanghai, Hong Kong, London, Nairobi, and San Francisco.
For more information, please visit: http://scventures.io/

Tana River Bears the Cost of Development

By Info Nile
Sep 17 2019 – The damming of Kenya’s River Tana and the environmental degradation upstream, has reduced the amount of silt and water reaching the Tana River Delta over time. Hence the sea has been pushing further and further inland unhindered, jeopardising livelihoods.

 

UN Chief Calls for Action, Not “Beautiful Speeches”

Credit: United Nations

By Thalif Deen
UNITED NATIONS, Sep 17 2019 – UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has offered an unsolicited piece of advice to the 190-plus speakers, including heads of state and heads of government, who will address an unprecedented six high level plenary meetings during the General Assembly sessions September 23-27.

“I am asking leaders to come to the September summits, not with beautiful speeches, but with concrete actions, plans and commitments to accelerate the implementation of the 2030 Agenda and the Paris agreement on climate change,” he implored.

The people of the world, he pointed out, do not want “half measures and empty promises”.

They are demanding transformative change that is fair and sustainable, he said, referring to two key upcoming summits, one on climate action (on September 23) and the other on Sustainable Development Goals (September 24-25).

But how many leaders will respond positively?

Harjeet Singh, global lead on climate change for ActionAid told IPS: “Let’s be clear, this is not another run-of-the-mill Summit. World leaders must decide that they need to either lead or step back”.

The time for speeches and lip service is long gone, he said. “Young people have taken the matter into their own hands. They will keep marching ahead, showing us the way”.

“Rich countries have benefited from over a century of the industrialisation that has caused climate change. They now have an outsized obligation to help developing nations cope with climate disasters and transition to greener economies.”

Asked what the yardstick should be to measure the success of the summits, specifically the climate action summit, Jennifer Morgan, Executive Director, Greenpeace International, told IPS: “The UN Secretary-General’s asks are clear and specific, and he has set the bar where it has to be at this moment in time — high.”

“The yardstick for success is if countries deliver what Guterres has asked for: a stop to fossil fuel subsidies, a concrete pathway to net zero by 2050 and no new coal. We don’t need any more speeches, we need real plans from world leaders and high emitters that are ambitious, tangible and achievable,” she added.

But will these summits be a mega talk-fest in futility?

Multilateralism is never futile, said Morgan, “to fix the climate crisis, we need everyone. We cannot turn the clock back and halt climate change, but we can force governments to recognise their responsibility and support an environmentally and socially just re-shaping of our economies.”

Kul Chandra Gautam, a former UN Assistant-Secretary-General, told IPS; “I commend UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres for his tenacious efforts to galvanize world leaders to take decisive action on the world’s most pressing issues, despite unfavourable political leadership in many powerful countries.”

“We may not achieve decisive breakthroughs this year but we can build momentum for the future. In the long sweep of history and march of human civilization, there are many ups and downs, and progress is not linear. But I am inspired by the incredible energy, creativity and activism of the younger generation across the world”.

“I am convinced most of today’s populist but nativist leaders will eventually be swept away by the wave of their young citizens committed to building a more peaceful, prosperous and equitable world of mutual interdependence, as envisaged in the UN Charter,” said Gautam, a former Deputy Executive Director of the UN children’s agency, UNICEF.

As of last week, according to UN spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, a total of 196 speakers, are scheduled to speak at the General Assembly high level segment, including 97 Heads of State; five Vice-Presidents; 46 Heads of Government; five Deputy Prime Ministers; 38 Ministers; two Chairs of Delegation; and three observers.

A total of 560 official meetings have so far been requested, he said, and this does not include bilateral meetings between representatives of Member States—with last year’s staggering total of 1,676 bilateral meetings held in the UN precincts.

Scheduled to take place September 23-27, the meetings will cover a wide range of political and socio-economic issues on the UN agenda, including climate change, universal health care, sustainable development goals (SDGs), financing for development (FfD), elimination of nuclear weapons and the survival of small island developing states (SIDS) facing extinction from rising sea levels.

http://www.ipsnews.net/2019/09/uns-upcoming-summits-may-foreshadow-revival-multilateralism-obituary-world-order/

In an assessment of the state of play, since the adoption of the 2030 Development Agenda and the Paris climate change agreement, the United Nations says four years after breakthrough international agreements on climate change and sustainable development, the stakes are high.

“But we are not yet on track to end poverty by 2030 and world hunger is on the rise, with some 821 million people experiencing undernutrition in 2017.”

“Green-house gases continue to climb. Every bit of warming matters and every day we delay action will make it more difficult to limit global warming to 1.5°C and avert the worst impacts of climate change.”

And most importantly, the world’s most vulnerable are bearing the brunt of conflict, inequality, injustice and environmental degradation – 70 million people fled war, persecution and conflict in 2018; at least half the world’s population do not have access to essential health services; and some 29.3% of the population of small island states live at less than five meters above rising sea-levels.

Gautam told IPS that despite the urgency of all the issues to be debated in the upcoming six UN summits, real progress is likely to be incremental and uneven.

“Given the current line-up of the world’s leadership, I fear it is unlikely that we will see great progress on climate change and the elimination of nuclear weapons which requires a very strong commitment of the world’s most powerful countries”.

On the other hand, he argued, “I am more optimistic for significant progress on Universal Health Coverage and some of the other SDG-related issues where progress depends largely on action at the national level in all member states.”

On many of the most pressing issues before the UN Summits, ordinary people, particularly the youth and civil society organizations are way ahead of national political leaders in their understanding of and commitment to address the most pressing issues facing humanity, said Gautam, author of the recently-released book “Global Citizen from Gulmi: My Journey from the Hills of Nepal to the Halls of the United Nations’.

Ultimately, political leadership has to respond to popular will. As Mahatma Gandhi once said, “There go my people, and I must follow them because I am their leader”.

Asked if Greenpeace is expecting anything positive to come out of the climate summit, Morgan told IPS: “Unfortunately, we’re not expecting the Climate Action Summit to deliver what is needed, because there are some countries that are actively trying to slow down progress and lead negotiations in the wrong direction”.

She also pointed out that some countries are claiming to be climate leaders, but not showing any signs of following through. There are a small number proving to others that true 1.5 alignment can be done, but they are outnumbered.

“What is becoming obvious is that we’re entering a new era of climate activism. The people and youth are increasingly showing the unity and positivity missing at the negotiating table. If countries fail to deliver at the Summit, they will have to answer to the tens of thousands of youth in the streets,” Morgan declared.

The writer can be contacted at thalifdeen@ips.org

Developing Economies’ Subordinate Financialization

By Jomo Kwame Sundaram and Michael Lim Mah Hui
KUALA LUMPUR and PENANG, Sep 17 2019 – Rapid financial globalization is due not only to financial innovations, but also to choices made by national policymakers, often with naïve expectations, trusting promoters’ promises of steady net inflows of financial resources.

Rapid financialization has involved fund or asset investment managers operating internationally, managing assets for transnational institutional and retail investors and investing a growing share of transnational financial assets. Even retail investors are attracted by such fund managers offering attractive alternatives for investing in various asset markets, including index funds.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram. Credit: FAO

To attract foreign institutional investments interested in capturing more rents, they demand more favourable terms and conditions, thus changing national financial systems. Successfully attracting transnational finance thus limits ‘emerging market’ economies’ ‘policy space’ to develop their economies.

Facilitating financialization
The enabling environment to attract capital inflows typically allows them to circumvent regulations and other institutional constraints. Deepening national capital markets by relying on transnational finance typically involves ‘subordinate’ or ‘dependent’ financialization.

This typically requires modifying national financial systems to better serve transnational finance and transitioning from traditional banking to financial asset markets. Thus, developing countries, that open their capital accounts or encourage transnational portfolio investments, become especially vulnerable.

In the early 2000s, after the 1997-1998 Asian financial crises, the Group of 8 (G8) major economies, supported by the World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Germany’s Bundesbank, promoted local currency bond markets. Soon, local currency bond markets in Asia (ex-Japan) rose ten-fold from US$836 billion in 2000 to US$8.3 trillion in 2015.

Subordinate securitization
It was claimed that deeper national securities markets, especially local currency bond markets, would redress both currency and maturity mismatches of short-term foreign currency borrowings by local banks and corporations. Such markets were expected to reduce global imbalances as countries with surpluses would no longer need to recycle savings in US financial markets.

Michael Lim Mah Hui

However, an UNCTAD-South Centre study argued that local currency bond markets are ‘double-edged’, addressing the risks of currency mismatches for individual borrowers, while exacerbating the systemic risks associated with the nation’s currency. When developing economies’ equity and bonds are largely foreign-held, their currencies are more vulnerable.

New vulnerabilities
Increasing transnational integration of national currency, financial and other asset markets has transformed global finance and its dynamics, including the roles, relations and room for manoeuvre for emerging market and other developing economies:

    • currency markets are now less influenced by international trade flows, but increasingly by capital flows, and when substantial enough, by the ‘carry trade’ of those borrowing in low-interest rate currencies to invest in high-interest rate currency assets, taking on exchange rate risk to gain from interest rate arbitrage;
    • inter-bank money markets no longer only reflect the demand for and supply of central bank reserves, but also the effects of central bank interventions in currency markets to prevent excessive appreciation or depreciation of national currencies due to market perceptions of erratic capital flows;
    • with domestic financial conditions linked to the vagaries of global finance and US interest rate decisions, subordinate financialization constrains governments’ capacities to provide macroeconomic stability by trying to stabilize aggregate demand, let alone undertake countercyclical policy;
    • subordinate financialization tends to promote the privatization of public services by legitimizing the notion that public goods – education, health, infrastructure – can be better provided by the private sector with finance from capital markets. Development finance is thus redeployed to ensure profits for private finance, investors and companies.

International financial anarchy unchecked
Efforts to deepen national capital markets have been backed by powerful financial interests, domestic and foreign, especially the major international financial institutions. Multilateral development banks have been urging developing country governments to get private finance to fund development, social and environmental initiatives.

Their message has shifted from ‘working on finance’, to try to ensure more resilient and robust development despite international financial volatility and instability, to thus ‘working with finance’. Meanwhile, institutional investment managers are expected to turn to ‘impact investing’ with supposedly beneficial effects, such as green bonds, development impact bonds and infrastructure bonds.

To make matters worse, there is no international financial regulator, as all regulation and regulators are national, even in implementing Bank of International Settlements (BIS) standards. Both the BIS and the IMF acknowledge cross-border transmission of risks, but national regulators focus on their national economies, leaving others more vulnerable than ever.

Jomo Kwame Sundaram, a former economics professor, was United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Economic Development, and received the Wassily Leontief Prize for Advancing the Frontiers of Economic Thought.
Dr Michael LIM Mah Hui has been a university professor and banker, in the private sector and with the Asian Development Bank.