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2221

Southeast Asian startup mClinica raises $6.3M for global expansion

HEALTH INNOVATION. A pharmacist at a local drug chain inputs data using mClinica’s mobile platform. Photo courtesy of mClinica

MANILA, Philippines – Southeast Asian healthcare data startup mClinica raised $6.3 million for global expansion, in one of the largest Series A financings for a digital health company in Southeast Asia.

The recent over-subscribed round was led by Silicon Valley-based Unitus Impact and joined by London-headquartered Global Innovation Fund, MDI Ventures of Indonesia, and the Endeavor Catalyst fund of the Endeavor Network.

The firm maintains a large presence in the Philippines, where it first launched before expanding to the rest of Southeast Asia. It was initially primarily backed in October 2014 by Globe Telecom’s corporate venture capital firm Kickstart Ventures.

Globe’s parent firm Ayala Corporation has also recently invested in another healthcare startup, the online pharmacy MedGrocer, through its wholly-owned AC Health.

Filling data gaps

mClinica runs a mobile platform that gathers pharmacies, governments, and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) on a common platform which provides a unique way to mine health data.

"Across many developing countries, basic health data is missing. Trillions of dollars are spent by the public and private healthcare sectors and often there is no data to guide the right programming and policy decisions. We are connecting once-fragmented pharmacies on a common platform providing a unified set of global health data that has never been available before," said mClinica founder and CEO Farouk Meralli in an email following the announcement on Wednesday, February 15.

A key part of the platform is access to new sources of previously hard-to-obtain data in emerging markets, offering governments and NGOs the ability to rapidly generate and visualize real-time health data for decision making and policy formulation, he explained.

"In the Philippines, our platform has quickly discovered that nearly 60% of patients with tuberculosis in the private sector may not be receiving the standard of care they need to cure themselves and protect society," also said mClinica COO Vasil Rusinov.

Aside from the Philippines, the firm operates in Indonesia and Vietnam, where its platform has also gleaned insights.

"In Indonesia, our data showed that 5% of patients were prescribed with combinations of medicines that had a high risk of interactions that could have caused severe health complications including renal failure and liver conditions. In Vietnam, our data detected a significant double-digit rise in diabetes treatment within a key city in less than one year," Rusinov said.

The platform also directly affects populations at the local pharmacy level by giving consumers in these markets discounts for signing up to the platform.

It’s getting more insights like this that has formed the basis for the new investment by the lead investor in this round, Unitus Impact.

"We view mClinica as a ‘systems changing’ company that can fundamentally change the face of health care in developing countries… Using a simple, yet powerful mobile-based platform, mClinica is creating a tremendous win-win scenario for private companies and public sector organizations looking to deliver needed medicines and information to the hundreds of millions – if not billions – of people in mClinica’s target markets," said Unitus Impact managing partner Beau Seil. – Rappler.com