Local Infusion raises $4M to deliver care for chronic autoimmune diseases

Steven Loeb · November 18, 2022 · Short URL: https://vator.tv/n/5583

The company plans to open its first five clinics in Maine and New Hampshire next month

There is an epidemic of patients with chronic autoimmune disease, which affects 23.5 million people in the US alone, nearly 80% of whom are women. While there are highly effective IV drugs available for many of these diseases, such as multiple sclerosis, they are expensive and not highly accessible.

In fact, in most parts of the country, patients’ only treatment option is to go to the hospital where the cost is 2x higher than what it should be, explained, Woody Baum, founder and CEO of Local Infusion, an infusion therapy company.

"Where low cost options exist, the experience is often secondary and filled with frustration. Low-cost infusion centers do not provide the digital and physical experiences consumers are learning to expect in other areas of their life," he said.

Local Infusion's goal is to do for the infusion space what Tend is doing in dental, or One Medical is doing for primary care, by putting the patient at the center of everything it does.

"From offering flexibility in scheduling evening and weekend hours to the selection of chairs that patients sit in for hours at a time. We’re also investing heavily in technology that can make the entire process much more seamless, for the patient, physician and payer," he said.

Now the company has a fresh new round of capital to help make that vision a reality, announcing a $4 million round of funding on Friday, led by Brand Foundry, along with Meridian Street Capital.

Local Infusion is looking to upend the status quo for infusion therapy, which currently involves a monthly visit to the hospital, where parking is a challenge, you have to wait 45 minutes to register and wait another hour before the nurse brings your medications, and then you then sit in an open infusion room, with no privacy, for two hours while you get your treatment.

Local Infusion's clinics, on the other hand, will have night and weekend appointments, convenient parking, and zero wait time.

"We offer a spa-like experience with private rooms, a digital onboarding process akin to luxury hospitality experiences, and Local Infusion can do this for a third of the cost," said Baum. 

Patients are typically referred to the company by their physician: they have been diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune condition, which will require ongoing infusion therapy to manage the symptoms. The company offers treatments for over 40 different conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and Crohn's Disease.

Having analyzed member data from self funded government plans in the state of Maine, and then comparing those prices to Local Infusion's rates, the company calculated a cost savings of $50,000 to $100,000 per patient, per year, depending on the medication.

The company will use the new funding, in part, to open its first five clinics across Maine, with sites in Augusta and Portland, and New Hampshire, with clinics in Bedford, Concord, and Nashua; the plan is to begin treating patients next month.

"We wanted to start with Maine and New Hampshire because several C-suite headers in the healthcare industry from that region called me to ask if we could open locations there," Baum explained.

"We researched the care options for patients in those states and our research echoed the opinions of these executives. For example, in Concord, NH, the state’s capital, on most days it is impossible for patients to receive an infusion outside of the hospital setting. The lack of access can have a debilitating impact on patients’ health. We are talking about patients with debilitating diseases like multiple sclerosis for whom delays in treatment can lead to permanent consequences."

The company will also use the funding to build out its team, specifically across digital product, regional operations and payor/health system partnerships, growing from 10 employees to 50 by the end of next years. It will also be used to invest Local Infusion's referral and care coordination technologies.

In the short term, Baum explained, Local Infusion is focused on increasing its footprint in New England and proving our value to patients, providers and health plans; it expect to grow to 15 locations by the end of 2023. The ultimate goal, though, is to act as an extension of its referring providers, and offer care coordination services, enter into value based contracts, and focus on whole-body self rather than treat a small subset of symptoms.

"We are in the second inning of innovation in the infusion industry, and we intend on leading the way," he said.

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