Merck to invest upwards of $17M in Skyscape

By Brian Dolan
10:38 am
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Tomorrow NetworksPhysicians Interactive, which offers the popular professional medical app Skyscape, announced this week that Merck will invest up to $17 million in the company via its Global Health Innovation Fund (GHIF). Initially, the financing includes $8.5 million, but depending on whether the company meets certain milestones, Merck's GHIF could bump the investment up another $8.5 million for a total of $17 million.

The funds will be used to grow "four key products" as well as other initiatives. Among the company's key products and initiatives is the Skyscape app itself and a recently launched mobile advertising network, Tomorrow Networks.

Skyscape is a mobile medical content publisher whose main app offering, Skyscape Medical Resources, is a clinical decision support tool similar to Epocrates. Physicians Interactive, a digital marketing firm that targets doctors and other health workers via a number of mobile and web-based services, bought Skyscape in 2009. It now accounts for about 90 percent of its Healthcare Professionals Division. (MobiHealthNews' own Neil Versel spoke to Healthcare Professional Division president Brett Miller last year about Skyscape's storied 12 year history in the mobile healthcare space).

Last year, the company partnered with Remedy Systems to launch a mobile advertising network, Tomorrow Networks, that serves ads specifically targeted to healthcare providers. The network is also testing health-related ads targeting consumers. The network places ads in smartphone medical apps -- it launched with some 54 different apps already onboard.

“This investment will allow us to further expand our internal product development and customer solutions, as well as explore new markets and additional customer segments,” stated Donato Tramuto, CEO and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive Holdings, in a press release.

As part of the deal, Merck's Global Health Innovation Fund will appoint one of its executives to join Physicians Interactive's board.

Read the press release below.

PRESS RELEASE -- Physicians Interactive Holdings the leading provider of mobile and web-based clinical resources and solutions for healthcare professionals, today announced it entered into an agreement with Merck Global Health Innovation Fund, LLC (“GHIF”) to invest up to $17 million in the Company. The financing includes an initial investment of $8.5 million and potential future investments of up to $8.5 million contingent upon achieving certain pre-specified milestones. The proceeds will be used to fund the growth initiatives of four key products and other initiatives as identified by the Board. Physicians Interactive Holdings was identified by GHIF as being on the forefront of healthcare innovation, and the investment is part of the fund’s strategy to help nurture leading global healthcare solutions.

Today, Physicians Interactive Holdings partners with healthcare professionals and life science companies to provide a powerful integrated suite of clinical medical reference tools, electronic drug sampling and interactive education. The solutions are blended into the clinician’s daily workflow via web, mobile and electronic health records channels, saving time that can be redirected back to critical patient care.

“We are excited by this investment from Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and it validates both our achievements to-date and the compelling vision around our innovative programs for healthcare professionals and life science companies. This investment will allow us to further expand our internal product development and customer solutions, as well as explore new markets and additional customer segments,” said Donato Tramuto, CEO and vice chairman of Physicians Interactive Holdings.

GHIF will have a minority position in Physicians Interactive Holdings and will appoint one of their executives to join the Physicians Interactive Holdings Board of Directors, which currently has six members.

About Physicians Interactive Holdings, Inc.

Physicians Interactive Holdings (PIH) is the leading provider of mobile and web-based clinical resources and solutions that help medical professionals, anytime, anywhere, provide better patient care. PIH uses use the full power of a worldwide network of healthcare professionals and life sciences companies together in ways that will change the practice and business of medicine, for the better. PIH has developed a foundation of user-generated, proprietary and public data that powers a networked suite of transactional applications, including eSampling, interactive learning programs and mobile solutions. Skyscape.com Inc. is part of PIH and is owned by Perseus LLC, a merchant bank and private equity fund management company. For more information about PIH, visit www.physiciansinteractive.com.

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