MedTech Startup PatchRx Secures $8 Million in Series A Funding

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PatchRx, a pioneering medication management startup headquartered in Tulsa, Oklahoma, has successfully raised $8 million in a Series A funding round. The company’s innovative smart pill bottle cap, driven by data-driven technology, aims to enhance prescription adherence and provide comprehensive support to patients in managing their medications effectively.

Atento Capital led the funding round, accompanied by participation from Vast Ventures, Cortado Ventures, Forum Ventures, and Plains VC. This latest funding brings PatchRx’s total capital raised to $15 million, reflecting the company’s rapid growth trajectory. In just 12 months, PatchRx expanded its team from 10 to over 80 employees and achieved $4 million in revenue.

PatchRx’s patented technology has already been adopted in more than 40 clinics across the United States, extending from Alaska to New Jersey. Notably, in 2022, PatchRx became the first vendor to offer a medication adherence platform under new Medicare RTM billing codes, enabling engagement with various healthcare stakeholders simultaneously.

The company’s aspirations go beyond pain management, extending into clinical trials where non-adherence can distort drug efficacy results, as well as psychiatric markets where deviations from medication schedules can have severe repercussions on patient outcomes.

The startup was co-founded in 2018 by Andrew Aertker and Gavin Buchanan, both students at Trinity University in San Antonio. Their personal connections to medication adherence—Gavin’s grandfather’s death due to non-adherence and Andrew’s experience managing medication during his cancer diagnosis—highlighted the critical need for better technology and innovation in this space, especially in the wake of the national opioid addiction crisis.

Andrew Aertker, CEO of PatchRx, emphasized their unwavering focus on patients: “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. Our goal is to fundamentally advance innovation in patient care to create better mechanisms for supporting patients and offering providers tools and insights for more effective care.”

Poor medication adherence is a significant and growing concern, contributing to up to 25% of hospitalizations and around 125,000 deaths annually in the United States, according to the World Health Organization. PatchRx’s distinct technology has gained rapid adoption and high levels of patient engagement. The company provides a universally fitted smart pill bottle cap, combining quality and affordability. Its design fits seamlessly under any size pill bottle, ensuring minimal disruption to provider workflows.

Dr. Peter Staats, Chief Medical Officer of National Spine & Pain Centers and a prominent interventional pain management physician, highlighted the value of PatchRx: “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.”

PatchRx anticipates substantial growth in healthcare sectors where patients require chronic medication, emphasizing areas like heart disease, mental health, oncology, high blood pressure, and diabetes. The company’s relocation to Tulsa, Oklahoma, aligns with the city’s burgeoning reputation as a hub for startups.

Michael Basch, Managing Partner at Tulsa-based Atento Capital, expressed enthusiasm for PatchRx’s achievements and potential: “This kind of breakthrough technology is a great illustration of the ingenuity that is emerging from the heartland.”

In joining a growing cohort of early-stage virtual health companies in Tulsa, including Sway Medical and TeleVet, PatchRx underscores its dedication to transforming the digital health landscape.

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