June 10, 2011
Boston Business Journal
PolyRemedy brings Netflix-like wound care approach to Mass.
PolyRemedy Inc., a maker of an IT-enabled system that provides customized wound care treatments, expects that the system will be used by home health agencies in Massachusetts by the fourth quarter, CEO Mark Carbeau said.
The Concord, Mass.-based company, which moved its headquarters to the state from Silicon Valley in October, announced on Tuesday that it had raised $20 million in a Series C round. The round included participation from two local venture capital firms, Advanced Technology Ventures of Waltham and Flybridge Capital Partners of Boston.
In an interview, Carbeau said the company's Personalized Wound Care System aims to fill a major gap — and reduce costs — in an increasingly important area of medicine. The need for care of chronic wounds is exploding due to the aging population and increased incidence of obesity and diabetes, he said.
But wound care, Carbeau said, is not part of medical training for most nurses and other healthcare professionals.
"As a result you see a lot of variability in care," he said. "And as we push more units of care delivery into home health and skilled nursing, that variability gets very amplified and exaggerated. That causes nasty things to happen."
Carbeau said the system combines advances in materials science with IT to provide the personalized wound care. Currently, most nurses in a home health care setting must determine the appropriate dressing and bandaging for a patient's wound through trial and error, he said. PolyRemedy's system provides software that prompts the nurse through a series of assessments of the wound, and the result is a dressing recipe for the optimal healing environment, Carbeau said.
Carbeau refers to his system as the "Netflix of wound care" because of the second component of the system. As the wound's healing progresses, the assessment tool updates the dressing recipe, and PolyRemedy produces a custom-tailored bandage treatment that is sent to the patient's home by FedEx, he said.
"It's created just for that patient, just for that patient's wound," Carbeau said, with the production of the treatments currently done at the company's facility in Mountain View, California.
Because of the data being gathered, the system also allows health care professionals to get alerts and reports on the patient's progress — and if the analytics show that a patient is worsening, the professionals can catch the problem early, Carbeau said. So far, two amputations have been averted thanks to the system, he said.
Because the dressings are easy to apply, relatives or friends can often take care of the dressings a few days a week — allowing for fewer nurse visits, Carbeau said. So even though the treatments are customized, the overall cost of care can be reduced, he said.
The PolyRemedy system, he said, can thus help to achieve what is seen as the Holy Grail of health care: better care at lower cost.
Founded in Silicon Valley in 2006, PolyRemedy originally aimed to provide its microfiber bandage customization technology in hospital settings, through a system that would produce the bandages on site. That approach proved difficult to scale up, due to the cost of putting equipment in each hospital, Carbeau said.
Since taking over as CEO in early 2010, Carbeau said the company shifted to its current business model, and the company was drawn to Massachusetts because of the strong health IT sector in the state. PolyRemedy's software development is done at the headquarters in Concord, while the materials science work remains in California, he said.
The company currently employs seven in Concord, but expects to increase the staff there to 28 over the next 18 months, Carbeau said. With the Series C financing in hand, PolyRemedy is now working to put together a sales and marketing staff, he said.
The company has five home health agencies outside of Massachusetts as customers, and PolyRemedy began generating revenue in January. About 350 patients have been treated using the system to date, Carbeau said.
After home health agencies, PolyRemedy plans to target its system for skilled nursing facilities and outpatient wound care clinics, he said.
California’s Delphi Ventures led the Series C financing, with participation from return backers MedVenture Associates of California, Advanced Technology Ventures and Flybridge Capital Partners . The company previously received $22 million in its Series B round and $4 million in its Series A.