[Corrected 4/20/17, 9:15 a.m. See below.] ZappRx, a Boston-based startup trying to streamline the process of ordering and refilling specialty medications, has raised a $25 million round of funding led by Seattle venture capital firm Qiming US Healthcare Fund.
Notably, GV, the venture capital arm of Google parent Alphabet (NASDAQ: GOOGL), is participating in the new round, along with SR One, the VC arm of GlaxoSmithKline, according to a prepared statement. SR One led ZappRX’s $5.6 million Series A funding round in 2015. The new money brings ZappRX’s total venture funding to about $41 million since its founding in 2012. [Updated with new funding total.]
ZappRx is aiming to simplify the complex system of filling prescriptions for specialty medications, like drugs for rare diseases. These treatments aren’t pills that patients can just pick up at a local pharmacy with a prescription scribbled on a notepad. As Xconomy has previously reported, the current system can be a hassle, requiring several pieces of information, such as lab results and diagnostics. Orders are processed between a matrix of healthcare providers, pharmacists, and patients, and can take days or weeks to fill.
ZappRx has created a website and mobile app that automates the process, letting healthcare providers and specialty pharmacists make orders more easily and quickly, the company says (patients also interact with the platform). Healthcare providers use the site in their prescription management systems. [Wording changed to clarify that most of the work in the platform is performed by providers and pharmacists.]
ZappRx’s business approach involves cutting deals with biotech and pharma companies. Its first customer agreement was with Cambridge, MA-based Zafgen (NASDAQ: ZFGN) in 2015. For specialty biopharma companies like Zafgen—which develops drugs for obesity and other metabolic diseases—the service can provide real-time data and market insights, ZappRx said in the prepared statement. ZappRx said its cloud-based service is also being used by academic medical centers and large, multi-specialty healthcare practices in the U.S.
“With this investment, we will accelerate the company’s growth through provider adoption, strategic partnerships, and the deepening of our platform,” ZappRx founder and CEO Zoë Barry said in the statement.
Mark McDade, a managing partner at Qiming US, which is part of Chinese venture capital firm Qiming Venture Partners, is joining ZappRx’s board of directors. [Corrected to remove name of person who is not joining board as an observer.]