Startups, Health IT, Pharma

Sempre Health rakes in $8 million to improve patient behavior and medication adherence

Rethink Impact led the Series A round, which will be used to grow Sempre’s relationships with health plans and to make its service available to more patients.

San Francisco-based Sempre Health, a startup tackling medication adherence and affordability, has closed an $8 million Series A round spearheaded by Rethink Impact. Social Capital and other investors also participated.

The new funding will be used to grow Sempre’s relationships with health plans and to make Sempre available to more patients.

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A Deep-dive Into Specialty Pharma

A specialty drug is a class of prescription medications used to treat complex, chronic or rare medical conditions. Although this classification was originally intended to define the treatment of rare, also termed “orphan” diseases, affecting fewer than 200,000 people in the US, more recently, specialty drugs have emerged as the cornerstone of treatment for chronic and complex diseases such as cancer, autoimmune conditions, diabetes, hepatitis C, and HIV/AIDS.

Via email, Sempre Health CEO Anurati Mathur explained the company’s approach.

“Sempre Health offers dynamic discounts and SMS-based engagement to patients via their health plans,” she said.

Thus, patients don’t have to pay as much when they make better decisions about their health, such as filling prescriptions on time. The ultimate goal is to improve medication adherence as well as patient engagement.

From the non-patient perspective, Sempre does two things.

It enrolls pharma manufacturers, who then add their medications to the platform. It also signs up insurers, who make Sempre’s programs available to their members. Insurers are also able to pick which medications are part of the Sempre programs by selecting them from the list of medicines that pharma manufacturers added.

Mathur touched on why the investors in the Series A make good partners.

“Healthcare is a meaningful but highly regulated and fragmented industry. Not every investor is up to the challenge,” she said. “What our investors have in common with us is the belief that you can do well while doing good.”

Going forward, the San Francisco startup seeks to make more medications available on its platform. This, Mathur said, requires continuing to improve its platform and develop partnerships.

In April, Sempre launched a collaboration with Novo Nordisk in hopes of incentivizing diabetes patients to have better medication adherence. The alliance will narrow in on diabetes medication from Novo Nordisk, and the goal is to onboard 10,000 patients in 2018.

Last summer, the California company began a pilot with a large provider-led health plan in Pennsylvania. Sempre declined to name the insurer. The pilot started with heart patients.

Photo: TAW4, Getty Images