Echo raises $9.3M and more digital medication adherence news

By Dave Muoio
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UK-based startup Echo has raised $9.3 million (7 million British pounds) in Series A funding for their medication management and resupply app, according to a report from TechCrunch. The funding round was led by White Star Capital with additional participation from MMC Ventures, Rocket Internet’s Global Founders Capital, Public.io, and prior investor LocalGlobe.

Cofounded by Dr. Sai Lakshmi, a former Apple executive, and Stephen Bourke, a former executive with UK retail pharmacy chain LloydsPharmacy, Echo aims to make it easier for patients with repeat prescriptions to stay on top of their medication. Once they download the app, patients enter their medication (manually or via barcode photo) and their National Health Services doctor into the app, allowing them to easily refill prescriptions. The app also features medication reminders to maintain adherence and on-demand delivery service via Royal Mail at no cost to the user. It is compatible with all NHS primary care providers, and features natural language processing to convert doctors’ spoken directions into in-app patient reminders.

Echo launched its app in November 2016, when it also announced $2.2 million in early funding led by LocalGlobe. This brings the startup to approximately $11.6 million in total funding.

Vitality Mobile app launches on iOS, Android

NantHealth announced today that the companion app to its Vitality GlowCap smart pill bottle has launched and is available on the iOS and Android marketplaces.

The Vitality GlowCap reminds users to regularly take their medication with automated visual and aduible alerts. The new Vitality Mobile app links to the bottle, allowing users and their care givers to view and track their medication adherence.

“Vitality GlowCap is effective for medication adherence, proven through a peer-reviewed study with Partners Healthcare, Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School,” Dr. Patrick Soon-Shiong, CEO and founder of NantHealth, said in a statement. “Today’s launch of the Vitality Mobile app is another step forward in tackling the issue of medication nonadherence, empowering patients to actively participate in improving their health.”

Contrary to the study cited by Soon-Shiong, another trial published this summer investigating the effectiveness of Vitality Glowcap connected pill bottles and other adherence strategies suggests that the intervention may not be significantly effective.

Popit adherence detector prepares for crowdfunding

Having raised approximately $1.4 million in seed financing, the Popit medication tracking device and app will soon be launching a IndieGoGo campaign for additional crowdfunding.

To ensure adherence, the Popit device clips directly onto a user’s pill sheet. Once it’s flipped on, the devices sensors detect whether a user has removed a pill from the packaging and sends information directly to a companion app. Along with a feature displaying pill consumption history, the Popit Sense App uses data from the clip-on device to send users an adherence reminder when — and only when — they have forgotten to take their medication that day.

According to a representative, Popit’s crowdfunding campaign will aim to raise $50,000 and is shooting for an early November launch.