Irish digital therapeutics company HealthBeacon has been named as an official supplier to the National Health Service (NHS) in Britain, a move it said would be a big boost for the business.
The appointment gives the Dublin-headquartered medtech company direct access to the UK healthcare market and comes as the NHS is seeking more companies to provide remote monitoring solutions to support Covid-19 patients and those with long-term conditions.
HealthBeacon has developed a technology platform that helps patients adhere to their medication schedule with digital reminders.
Its flagship product is a smart sharps bin for use by patients who inject medication at home. The bin is digitally connected to an individual’s smartphone and is used for the disposal of injector pens and syringes, as well as to track individual patients’ adherence to medication regimes and to remind them to stay on track if necessary.
Speaking to The Irish Times, co-founder and chief executive Jim Joyce said the approval process to become a supplier had been exhaustive.
“Getting approval really opens up the market for us because clinicians in the UK can now enter a buyer process to use our tools, which is something many already wanted to do but were restricted from being able to do so,” he said.
The self-injectable market for home-administered medications is estimated to be worth over €60 billion globally. One of the major challenges for people self-injecting medication, however, is adhering to treatment schedules. Failure to do so results in both a significant loss to patient health and a rapidly escalating financial burden on state healthcare systems.
Pharma companies were quick to embrace HealthBeacon’s solution, with 10 of the leading global companies now clients, including AbbVie.
National healthcare systems have been slower to get on board, primarily because their procurement processes usually didn’t facilitate it. However, this is rapidly changing, with many governments looking to speed up digital transformation.
A former finalist in The Irish Times Innovation Awards, HealthBeacon has raised €12 million to date with backers including SGInnovate, a private company owned by the Singapore government. Other investors include Manatt Health, BVP, Elkstone Partners and Bill McCabe's Oyster Capital.
HealthBeacon is currently seeking to raise between €3 million and €5 million and expects to close the new round in September.
“There is a massive systemic shift towards digitising healthcare going on and so there is a huge level of deal-making going on in the sector currently,” Mr Joyce said.
Founded by Mr Joyce and Kieran Daly in 2013, the company currently employs 40 people in Dublin, Boston and Montreal and intends to take on up to 30 more employees by the end of 2021.
It secured FDA approval for its technology in 2018 and is in the process of applying for similar approval in Germany Under its Digital Supply Act, which allows doctors who prescribe digital health solutions to their patients to be reimbursed by insurers.
Overall, its technology is available in 13 countries with the US, Britain, Germany and Ireland being its key markets currently.