Atento Capital Leads Series A Round for Tulsa-based Medication Adherence Company to Fuel National Expansion
TULSA, Okla., Aug. 30, 2023 /PRNewswire/ — PatchRx, a medication management startup based in Tulsa, OK, has announced that it has raised $8 million in a Series A funding round. The first-of-its-kind smart pill bottle cap prioritizes patient well-being by using data-driven technology to enhance prescription adherence and support patients in their medication management.
The round was led by Atento Capital joined by Vast Ventures, Cortado Ventures, Forum Ventures, and Plains VC. It brings the total capital raised to date to $15 million as part of an accelerated period of growth in which PatchRx expanded from a team of 10 to 80+ employees and reached $4 million in revenue in just 12 months.
PatchRx’s patented technology has been deployed in over 40 clinics across the US from Alaska to New Jersey. In 2022, PatchRx became the first vendor to offer a medication adherence platform under new Medicare RTM billing codes, creating a unique opportunity to engage various stakeholders of healthcare simultaneously. PatchRx is on track to also deploy its technology beyond pain management: in clinical trials, where drug efficacy results are often inadvertently distorted by unreported non-adherence, and in psychiatric markets, an area in which high-risk medications taken off schedule can often have severely detrimental effects on patient outcomes.
PatchRx was co-founded in 2018 by Andrew Aertker and Gavin Buchanan, then students at Trinity University in San Antonio, each motivated by personal connections to medication adherence: Gavin’s grandfather died due to non-adherence, and Andrew’s firsthand experience managing medication after his cancer diagnosis. The events, in the wake of a national opioid addiction crisis, led to a recognition of the scale and stakes of non-adherence and a need for substantially better technology and innovation in the space.
“It’s likely due to our own experiences that our focus has always been patients first, and we’re fully committed to innovating and designing technology to ensure their well-being,” said Aertker, CEO of PatchRx. “At the end of the day, our goal is to fundamentally advance innovation in patient care in a way that creates better mechanisms to support patients and offer providers tools and insights to care for their patients more effectively.”
The problem PatchRx addresses is widespread and growing. According to the World Health Organization, poor medication adherence can account for up to 25% of hospitalizations and approximately 125,000 deaths every year in the United States. PatchRx’s unique technology has gained widespread adoption quickly and has earned high levels of patient engagement. The company offers the only smart pill bottle cap that is universally fitted, while also providing top quality and affordability. It fits on the underside of any size pill bottle, meaning no change in operation or workflow for any provider partner.
“With PatchRx, pain management physicians now have the opportunity to leverage new types of objectives, behavioral data that will better enable us to track medication-taking behaviors. It will also provide early-warning alerts for patients at risk of an opioid or other drug overdose,” said Dr. Peter Staats, Chief Medical Officer of National Spine & Pain Centers and one of the country’s foremost interventional pain management doctors. Dr. Staats is also a member of PatchRx’s Scientific Advisory Board.
PatchRx expects exponential growth in the areas of healthcare where patients are on chronic medication and where non-adherence is most damaging –heart disease, mental health, and oncology plus a range of other diseases and conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes. The company moved last year to Tulsa, Oklahoma, joining the growing number of startups that have relocated to the city in recent years.
“We are energized by PatchRx and the business traction that the company is generating in a fast-growing digital health category,” said Michael Basch, managing partner at Tulsa-based Atento Capital, the VC arm of the George Kaiser Family Foundation. “This kind of breakthrough technology is a great illustration of the ingenuity that is emerging from the heartland.”
PatchRx joins a growing cohort of early-stage virtual health companies in Tulsa, including, Sway Medical, which captures patient’s balance and cognitive data to help healthcare professionals make decisions, and TeleVet, a telemedicine platform for veterinarians.
PatchRx is a patient-focused medication management platform improving outcomes through connected technologies. Understanding the complexities of prescription regimens, PatchRx provides personalized support through a unique service that combines a patented universal smart pill bottle device with a provider web app and on-staff nurses. We help patients and their providers find the most effective treatments.
Caroline Glennon, Thunder11