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While most people likely think of allergies as an annoyance, they are an expensive problem, resulting in $245 billion in annual direct medical costs and $210 billion in annual indirect costs, including productivity loss. And patients are not satisfied with their care, as the allergy industry suffers from a -69 NPS score for allergy care, one of the lowest in the healthcare industry.
"Typical allergy sufferers have moderate to severe allergies, experience multiple daily symptoms, and often have a family history of allergies, with over 80% having a parent or child with allergies," said Kenneth Chahine, Ph.D., founding CEO of allergy care platform Nectar.
"Nearly 90% have trouble sleeping due to their allergies, and over 90% take antihistamines, on average taking 3 antihistamines, steroids, or other medications. Nearly 70% take these medications daily and year-round in order to manage their symptoms."
Nectar's solution is to build the first vertically-integrated platform for allergies, including a compounding pharmacy, lab testing facility, allergist physician network, and digital devices. Its inaugural solution is an alternative to allergy shots, offering custom-formulated drops for under the tongue, which are delivered right to patients' homes.
On Tuesday, the company announced a $16.5 million Series A round led by Harmony Partners, with meaningful participation from founding partners Juxtapose and Obvious Ventures, who co-built with Chahine. This round brings the company's total funding raised to over $24 million.
Launched in June of this year, Nectar's provides personalized treatments, with dosage and formulation of coming from protocols that help a patient's body tolerate their allergen triggers over time through a process called Sublingual Allergen Immunotherapy, training their immune system not to trigger an allergic reaction.
"Nectar provides an effective and a much more convenient alternative to allergy shots and antihistamines if you suffer from moderate to severe indoor and outdoor allergies," said Chahine.
Nectar is also the consumer-facing brand of Nectar Life Sciences, an allergy-focused healthcare holding company led by Dr. Chahine.
The new funding will be used, in part, to scale Nectar's virtual care platform nationwide; that means patients will also have the opportunity to complement their immunotherapy treatment with Nectar’s personally compounded nasal sprays.
"OTC drugs are one size fits all but the Nectar nasal spray combines approved OTC and prescription medication into a specifically-formulated single nasal spray at the concentrations that best fit a patient’s symptoms," explained Chahine.
The company will also be launching its first physical locations, called Nectar Allergy Centers, which be located in major metro areas across the country; this will allow the company to expand to more complex allergic conditions, including asthma, food allergies, and atopic dermatitis. Finally, the funding will go toward initiating clinical studies designed to gain insurance reimbursement.
"Allergies are the most prevalent chronic illness in the US with 120M suffering. Nectar’s mission is to put an end to allergies, and in turn, build healthier, more productive communities," said Chahine.
"To tackle allergies holistically, Nectar believes catalyzing global conversations around allergies is critical. This is why the company strives to educate people on essential allergy-related topics, including the impact of climate change and the food chain on increasing allergy prevalence and severity."
(Image source: mynectar.com)
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