Report: Sermo Founders Off to New Company

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Founders of Sermo, the Cambridge, MA-based provider of an online community for physicians, are off to a new health-focused Web startup. The news was first reported today at online publication Pharmalot, which noted Sermo CEO Daniel Palestrant’s departure.

Sermo founder and chief medical officer Adam Sharp is also a founder of the new startup, Par8o, according to its website. Par8o seems to be an outgrowth of Sermo, with Palestrant and Sharp stating on the Par8o website that “having built the largest physician community in the world, we’ve seen first-hand what is happening to our profession and understand what it is doing to our colleagues, and most importantly, our patients.” The new startup says it is focused on enabling patients and physicians to collaborate directly on patient care, and is apparently leveraging concepts of efficiency and the allocation of goods from the Italian economist Vilfredo Pareto.

Sermo was founded in late 2005 and hoped to make money by charging financial services firms for access to the doctors in its online community (it stayed away from ads and subscription fees for the physician users). But it struggled to bring cash in that way, and later pivoted to focus on medical device and drug makers as paying customers, as we reported in December 2009. Two days after that report, news surfaced that Sermo laid off about 30 of its employees, reducing a workforce that was previously between 60 and 80 people.

We last heard from Sermo in August, when the company announced a new mobile app that enabled doctors to snap pictures of findings, X-rays, or lab results, and send them to others in the Sermo community for real-time advice. The company also took in another $3.5 million in growth financing from MMV Financial last February. We hope to get more details from Palestrant about the new gig, so stay tuned.

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