Welldoc raises $20 million in funding for BlueStar rollout

Mobile prescription therapy specialist Welldoc says it has raised $20 million in strategic financing that will help support the rollout of BlueStar, a product that allows diabetes patients to self-manage their treatment.

The funding comes from institutional investors Merck Global Health Innovation Fund and Windham Venture Partners and broadens the company’s capitalization beyond its initial group of angel investors.

Welldoc (Baltimore, MD) says that for a limited time it will also explore the possibility of adding co-investors that would contribute “strategic value”.

“Our new investors share Welldoc’s vision of fundamentally changing how people manage their chronic diseases to improve outcomes and reduce costs,” said Ryan Sysko, Welldoc’s chief executive. “This investment will help Welldoc launch and commercialize BlueStar, the world’s first mobile prescription therapy for type 2 diabetes, on a nationwide basis.”

BlueStar has already been cleared by the US Food and Drug Administration and uses Welldoc’s Automated Expert Analytics System to help patients self-manage their illness through “real-time motivational, behavioral and educational coaching”.

The system also provides support to healthcare providers, allowing them to improve their decision-making in terms of appropriate treatments.

“Welldoc’s leading-edge, patient self-management platform has the potential to become an integral component in the management of chronic disease,” said Maxwell Kahn, the managing director of Merck Global Health Innovation Fund. “We are excited to invest in this prominent m-health company because the ability to use and transform patient data into actionable information has the potential to substantially reduce healthcare costs and improve outcomes.”

Data from the American Diabetes Association (ADA) indicates that more than 45% of Americans suffer from at least one chronic disease, with 25.8 million Americans suffering from diabetes.

According to the ADA, the annual cost of diagnosed diabetes was $245 billion in 2012, including $176 billion in direct medical costs and $69 billion from reduced productivity.