RxLightning, a healthcare technology company focused on the specialty medication enrollment process, has closed a $3 million seed round led by venture capital firm HealthX Ventures.
In addition to the funding, the company announced that Brad Fluegel and Taha Jangda are joining its board. Jangda is a general partner at HealthX Ventures, and Fluegel is a principal at BMF Advisors.
Launched only 15 months ago, the funding and addition to its board will help the company commercialize its business, said CEO Julia Regan in a phone interview. RxLightning offers a brand-agnostic platform that helps providers streamline the process of completing enrollments for specialty drugs.
Patients diagnosed with diseases like cancer typically need specialty medications. To get them access to these drugs, providers must fill out paperwork and engage in a manual process that often involves a great deal of back and forth with the pharmacies, Regan said. As a result, it can take patients weeks or even months to get the medications they need.
RxLightning’s platform enables providers to submit enrollments for patients quickly and efficiently to any specialty pharmacy.
“Instead of the provider having to find the piece of paper that they need to fill out, they can go to our platform and type a drug name and see all the paperwork that they need to fill or the options they need to complete,” Regan said.
The platform aims to make the process more even efficient by enabling providers to capture patient consent digitally.
RxLightning plans to use the funds it has raised in two ways, Regan said. The first is to grow its sales team and get the word out about its platform. Second, the funds will be used to bring on individuals that can connect the company with specialty pharmacies.
“Many players in healthcare are attacking the issue of prior authorization for specialty drugs, but we have to go after a much broader problem and get to the root cause,” newly installed board member Jangda said, in a news release. “That’s what Julia and the RxLightning team are doing. They’re transforming one of the last bastions of paper-based medicine — the initiation of specialty drug therapy.”
Reducing the cost of specialty drugs is also top-of-mind for the industry. Niche vendors that recently entered the market are promising significant savings for payers if they “carve-out” specialty pharmacy services from integrated pharmacy benefits management — but their promises are “greatly exaggerated,” wrote Prem Shah, executive vice president of specialty and product innovation at CVS Health, in an article for MedCity News.
Not only that, but these carve-outs could result in additional coverage determinations and more patient and provider confusion, Regan said.
“Separating coverage in the form of [a] carve-out for only the expensive specialty medications simply for [a] rebate or network management probably doesn’t truly take costs out of the system but most certainly complicates it and ultimately there’s a greater chance of the patient being caught in the middle and ultimately suffering,” she said.
Thus, for RxLightning, efficiently gathering and routing relevant information from the clinicians to pharmacies and getting patients on treatment as quickly and accurately as possible is key, regardless of carve-outs, Regan added.
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