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Baltimore-based digital health company to expand after securing more than $6 million in venture capital

A Baltimore-based digital health company that saw tremendous revenue growth over the past year has plans to expand after securing more than $6 million in venture capital investment.

The company, emocha, created a remote-monitoring app that allows patients with infectious diseases and other illnesses to communicate with health care professionals and track their medication compliance. The firm is focused on improving the rate at which patients with diabetes, asthma, tuberculosis and other chronic illnesses properly take their medications, which would reduce hospitalizations significantly, said Sebastian Seiguer, emocha’s CEO.

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Sebastian Seiguer is the CEO and co-founder of emocha, a Baltimore firm that's developed a mobile app to help people adhere to their medication prescriptions and manage chronic illness.
Sebastian Seiguer is the CEO and co-founder of emocha, a Baltimore firm that's developed a mobile app to help people adhere to their medication prescriptions and manage chronic illness. (Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

“Medication adherence continues to be this massive, massive problem,” Seiguer said in an interview. “But more and more we are generating evidence that there’s a solution to it.”

During the coronavirus pandemic, emocha, which currently employs about 60 people, launched a symptoms monitoring service for employers, health systems and educational institutions, allowing people to be screened before coming to work and potentially infecting others. The company also has a two-way video platform and uses artificial intelligence to monitor a patient’s status.

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The firm said revenue grew over 300% during the last year, arriving at an “inflection point” in which it sought new investors. It turned a profit in 2020, Seiguer said.

Seiguer attributed the growth to existing clients as well as new business generated over the course of and due to the coronavirus pandemic. City governments, school systems and other institutions with thousands of employees and divisions make up a large portion of the client base, he said.

The $6.2 million of financing, which was oversubscribed by investors, was led by Claritas Health Ventures, according to a Tuesday news release prepared by emocha. Other participants included Kapor Capital, PTX Capital and Healthworx, the innovation and investment arm of CareFirst BlueCross BlueShield, which is also an emocha customer.

Originally, emocha sought $5 million, Seiguer said.

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Theresa Sexton, managing partner of Nashville-based Claritas Health Ventures, said her company’s investment in emocha will help reduce patient barriers to high-quality medical care.

And Doba Parushev, Healthworx’s venture capital director, said the platform is “transforming the medication adherence challenge,” and “going beyond nudges and compliance ... with intuitive, timely support.”

The app was built on technology developed at Johns Hopkins in 2008 as a tool for global clinical health research. Sebastian Seiguer and Morad Elmi, the co-founders of emocha, licensed it in 2013.

Seiguer said the company will use the new funds to support more strategic partnerships and to grow emocha’s remote clinical team of nurses and pharmacists. He said he expects to add about 25 employees.

The app has been validated in nine peer-reviewed publications, according to the company, demonstrating greater than 90% adherence to treatment. The medical team remotely confirms adherence, corrects administration techniques, and addresses all medication challenges.

“We need to help people in between their [physicians’] visits,” he said. “The technology is there.”

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