According to a study, 90% of pharmacists feel that medicine shortages have increased in the last 12 months, and affect over 20% of prescription drugs. A British tech startup, iethico bridges the shortage gap by delivering insights and forecasting to minimise shortage impact through AI and Machine Learning solutions.
Now, the pharmaceutical sourcing platform iethico has secured a £625K investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) managed by Midven (which manages UKI2S), a part of the Future Planet Capital Group to help combat global medicine shortages. Midven is a co-signatory of the Investing in Women Code and with the investment into iethico, the venture capitalist has backed its eighth company by a female founder.
The investment is split into two tranches. Firstly, it will help the company boost its headcount and complete the market testing of its platform. The second tranche will be used as the cornerstone of a larger series A funding round. The company will use the funds to address the global medicine shortages with its platform linking pharmacists with suppliers of hard-to-get medicines.
Tony Stott, CEO and Fund Principal at Midven, said: “Drug shortages are placing increasing pressure on pharmacists, and disrupting patients’ medical treatments, on a worldwide basis. MEIF investment will allow iethico to re-engineer the medicine procurement process, providing more reliable access to pharmacists and enabling better outcomes for patients.”
Debra Ainge, CEO of iethico, said: “Medicine shortages are a recognised major public health concern, occurring every day across healthcare settings, affecting patients and all stakeholders involved in their care. The investment from Midven enables us to help overcome these limitations, not only ensuring medicines supply in times of need but ultimately addressing inequality in access to medicines.”
Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The MEIF is committed to supporting the growth of SMEs across the Midlands. This funding for iethico is the perfect example of how this investment will lead to new advancements in the pharmaceutical industry making the company a pioneer in the sector. We encourage other companies in the Midlands with stand-out business ideas to consider MEIF funding for their growth plans.”
Alun Rogers, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said: “We are pleased to see that iethico has been able to secure funding through MEIF to complete the market testing of its platform and create new employment opportunities. We would encourage other local businesses within the LEP area to consider the options available through the MEIF and also take advantage of wider support from the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.”
AI-powered pharmaceutical sourcing solution
Founded by Debra Ainge and Renee Kalia in 2020 in the UK, iethico will provide pharmacists with a platform that allows them to obtain difficult-to-access medicines. By linking pharmacists with wholesalers across the world through its platform, iethico reduces time spent on sourcing medicines and creates a competitive marketplace that addresses drug supply chain deficiencies and saves pharmacies money.
The company’s AI-powered solution will be able to give clear indications of medicine shortages and have the capability to predict future supply chain challenges – something which is not possible at present.