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Scottish online pharmacy secures £10m cash injection to expand across UK

Glasgow online pharmacy Phlo has secured a £10 million investment to fund the “scaling” of its operations across the UK, it has announced.

Founded by entrepreneur Nadeem Sarwar and headquartered in Glasgow, Phlo told C+D last week (February 10) that it has raised £10 million after closing a successful “Series A” venture capital financing round.


The funding will be used to “support the scaling of Phlo’s operations and their partnerships with other healthcare providers”, it said.


Read more: Online pharmacies: Coroner flags ‘lack of integrated records’ after patient ‘overdose’


This includes expanding “the reach of Phlo Digital Pharmacy” and scaling up Phlo Connect – the company’s “digital infrastructure platform for healthcare providers” – it added.  


Phlo’s team headcount has “just exceeded 70 people”, it said.  

 


Manchester expansion

 

 

Phlo’s flagship “digital pharmacy” currently offers a same-day NHS and private prescription delivery service to patients in both Birmingham and London and is “the first UK digital pharmacy to offer patients same-day medication delivery”, according to the company.


But the service – which has delivered more than 110,000 orders since the platform’s launch in 2020 – will also be rolled out in Manchester this year, Phlo said. 


Read more: Online pharmacies ‘disrupting the market’, wholesalers told

So far, user numbers for the digital pharmacy are “more than doubling year-on-year”, it added.

 

Meanwhile, Phlo Connect’s digital pharmacy infrastructure “enables healthtech companies and private healthcare providers to offer a seamless, complete digital pharmacy service”, it said.

 

Its existing partners include Babylon, Leva Clinic, SkinDoc, Syrona Health, and The Dermatology Partnership, it added.

 

 

“High-profile investors”

 

 

The new investment – a combination of equity investment and the conversion of existing loan notes – follows £2m raised by Phlo in 2020 as part of the “third largest recorded healthtech crowdfunding campaign in Europe”, Phlo said.

 

The funding round was led by Scottish life sciences investor Thairm Bio with “support from Scottish Enterprise and a number of other high-profile angel investors”, it added.


Read more: EPS now 'default' as almost 1bn items dispensed electronically in 2021/22


Phlo said it will “spearhead digital transformation in [the] pharmacy sector” amid building “momentum” caused by “supply chain fluctuations, spiralling operating costs, record workforce shortages, and the predicted closure of up to 3,000 high street pharmacy branches by 2024”. 

 

Thairm Bio founder Mark Bamforth said the investor was “delighted to lead this investment round, in partnership with a dedicated group of investors, and to support Phlo in its continued expansion across the UK”.  

 

Read more: Lloydsdirect gains sustainability certification for 'goals outside of profit'

“Phlo’s drive and determination to improve patient access and healthcare outcomes at this pivotal moment for the pharmacy sector is impressive,” he added.

Director of entrepreneurship and investment at Scottish Enterprise Kerry Sharp said that thanks to its investment, Phlo “can scale up operations and expand its services into new markets”.

 

“Busy roadmap ahead”

 

“I would like to thank our existing and new investors for supporting Phlo’s mission as we enter into our next stage of growth,” said Phlo founder and CEO Mr Sarwar.

 

The new investment is “particularly crucial in helping us scale our offering and realising our vision of establishing Phlo as the market leader in the delivery of next-generation digital pharmacy services right across the UK”, he added.

 

Read more: Rollout of Welsh electronic prescription service could begin this summer

 

It will “help support” Phlo’s “expansion across the UK” and allow it to “continue developing” its products to “improve healthcare outcomes”, Mr Sarwar added.

“We have a very busy roadmap ahead and some incredibly exciting opportunities to take advantage of in 2023 and beyond,” he said. 

 

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