Irish health-tech Pharmapod acquired by Canada’s Think

8 Nov 2021

Pharmapod CEO Leonora O'Brien. Image: Pharmapod

Founded by entrepreneur Leonora O’Brien, Pharmapod makes software for pharmacies to help prevent medication-related errors.

The assets of Irish health-tech start-up Pharmapod have been acquired by Toronto-based Think Research.

Founded by entrepreneur Leonora O’Brien in 2012, Pharmapod is a SaaS company that makes software to prevent medication-related errors and helps improve communication and knowledge sharing between pharmacies to enhance patient safety.

The acquisition was agreed on 4 November through a receivership process that involved Think, Pharmapod, an appointed receiver, and Think’s EU subsidiary. The total financial value of the transaction stood at approximately C$1m in cash and shares.

Soon after its inception, NDRC graduate Pharmapod began making the news, with O’Brien winning the top European prize in the Global Cartier Women’s Initiative Awards in 2013. In 2014, Pharmapod bagged a deal with the UK’s National Pharmacy Association.

By 2021, Pharmapod served more than 9,000 pharmacies in Canada, the UK, Ireland and Australia, with 7,400 in Canada alone – representing 65pc of all Canadian pharmacies. It also operates an online retail service in the US.

‘Exciting period of growth’

Think said that Pharmapod’s comprehensive suite of data capture tools for clinicians is valuable to its clients and will help Think extend its digital referrals footprint. In September, Think acquired Canadian contract research company BioPharma for approximately C$44.6m.

CEO Sachin Aggarwal said that Think is going through an “exciting period of growth” and is scaling up globally to transform digital healthcare. “We see great synergies with Pharmapod and are eager to increase our offerings to our growing network of international clinicians.”

The digital health software company went public last year after listing on Canada’s TSX Venture Exchange and its acquisition of Pharmapod is subject to acceptance from the exchange.

In 2018, Pharmapod raised €1.95m from the Canadian Pharmacists Association to help bring Canadian pharmacies into the digital age. The association said at the time that Pharmapod’s platform was chosen for the investment because of its robust, intuitive and highly scalable qualities.

It came after company won a tender to implement a medication error reporting system across more than 4,300 pharmacies in Ontario, in what was then the largest medication safety programme of its kind in Canada.

“Medication errors are a huge problem across the entire healthcare system, not just pharmacy. Here in Ireland for example, medication errors are responsible for around 25pc of litigation cases against GPs,” O’Brien said at the time.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic