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OrbiMed, others commit $50M to online drugs marketplace Netmeds

Netmeds.com supplies both prescription drugs and non-prescription products.

Netmeds.com supplies both prescription drugs and non-prescription products.

Net-Meds Marketplace Pvt Ltd, which runs online pharmacy venture under Netmeds.com, has received investment commitment of $50 million (Rs 325 crore) from healthcare focused global private equity firm OrbiMed, among others, according to a press release.

Existing investor MAPE Advisory Group and CEO and founder Pradeep Dadha’s family investment fund also participated in this round of funding.

As part of the financing, OrbiMed’s senior managing director Sunny Sharma will join the company’s board.

“This additional funding is a vote of confidence in Netmeds.com’s vision of providing access to a range of medicine and healthcare products to the consumer. Plans are also under way to put in place a supply chain management system,” said Dadha.

In May, Bangalore-headquartered mid-market investment banking firm MAPE had said it will invest in yet to be launched Netmeds.com.

At that time, the investors reportedly committed around $10 million.

On Monday, the four-month-old startup said it is looking to use $10 million of $50 million funds for back-up development and to augment its logistics infrastructure to offer medicines and healthcare products in under-served cities.

Besides, the funding will be used to increase consumer awareness.

Net-Meds Marketplace was launched by Chennai-based businessman Dadha. Dadha’s family ran Tamilnadu Dadha Pharmaceuticals Ltd, which was acquired and merged with Sun Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd in 1997. The founder of the firm S Mohanchand Dadha (father of Pradeep Dadha) now sits on the board of Sun Pharma, India’s top drugmaker.

Netmeds.com has both prescription drugs and non-prescription (OTC) products, supplying over 50,000 stock keeping units (SKUs) across India from its first operational hub in Chennai.

It also allows uploading a prescription and ordering medicine through its mobile app that is available on iOS and Android smartphones. The app also maintains the records of the medicine order and provides refill reminders to make sure the medication is not forgotten.

Another online pharmacy venture in the country is 1MG. Earlier run as HealthKartPlus, the property was spun off as a separate firm recently while raising $6 million (Rs 32 crore) from existing investors.

The drug retail market in the country is highly fragmented with standalone chemists dominating the show. Regulations also make it a tricky business, especially for prescription medicines which are to be sold only after the customer presents a doctor’s prescription. 1MG asks customers to take an image of the prescription and upload it before allowing sale of the medicine through its portal.

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