ZappRx raises $25 million to help patients get specialty drugs faster


ZappRx, which helps physicians and pharmacists better manage specialty prescription drugs for diseases like cancer, multiple sclerosis, and cystic fibrosis, announced today funding of $25 million, led by Qiming US Healthcare Fund. New investor GV (formerly Google Ventures) and existing investor SR One (the venture capital arm of GlaxoSmithKline) also joined.

Many pharmacies still use the phone or the fax machine to exchange prescription information, methods that could be viewed as antiquated amid today’s digital mania. “ZappRx’s early research showed that it can take up to six weeks for patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) to receive their therapies,” wrote ZappRx founder and CEO Zoë Barry, in an email to VentureBeat.

The Boston, Massachusetts-based startup collects and digitizes the paperwork involved in prescribing specialty drugs. “This automated solution reduces administrative burden at provider practices and specialty pharmacies, helps patients receive their medications faster, and provides data insights to the pharmaceutical industry.”

And this is how Barry plans on monetizing. “When information is managed on paper and via fax machines, there is no way for pharmaceutical companies to understand how drugs are performing in the market,” she wrote. The founder claims her team is building a comprehensive database and plans on selling these data sets to biopharmaceutical companies.

Several academic medical centers and large multi-specialty practices are currently using the platform, according to Barry, but she declined to provide names at this stage. In her opinion, fax machines are ZappRx’s number one competitor. She also mentions “near competitors” — vendors that make portals for one step in the process or support a single branded drug product. Barry plans on collaborating with various stakeholders to leverage what exists in the market.

Today’s round brings ZappRx total raised to $41 million. The new capital will be used to increase sales and marketing efforts and to grow the ZappRx team of 28. The startup was founded in 2012.

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