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Axmed snaps $2M to transform access to healthcare in emerging markets

Axmed founders
Picture credits: Axmed

Low- and middle-income countries have long borne the brunt of global health disparities. Accounting for over 80% of the world’s population and more than 90% of its disease burden, these countries represent a mere 6% of global pharmaceutical revenue. Equitable access to high-quality affordable medicines remains daunting, and addressing this challenge has never been more critical. 

Switzerland-based Axmed, a two-sided B2B marketplace platform, is taking a bold and meaningful step forward in addressing this disparity. 

Raises $2M funding 

Now, the startup has raised $2 million in seed funding led by Founderful (which invested in mimic and Isospec Analytics). It complements the previous $5 million in grant funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. This brings the total funds raised by the company to $7 million.

This investment aims to accelerate the affordability, availability, and distribution of essential and innovative medicines in underserved regions. These funds will bolster Axmed’s expansion, enhancing its engineering and commercial teams and advancing its technology infrastructure to initiate operations in strategically selected African and Caribbean markets. 

Transform access to healthcare 

Axmed was founded by CEO Emmanuel Akpakwu, previously Chief Commercial Officer for Novartis AG’s Sub-Saharan Africa operations, Felix Ohnmacht and Sofia Radley-Searle, who have held key positions at Novartis and GSK, respectively. Their united vision is to tackle healthcare inequity head-on. They have a wealth of expertise and dedication with over 30 years of collective experience in healthcare, finance, and public-private partnerships. 

Its mission extends beyond technology. It is about forging critical partnerships and ensuring a steady flow of crucial medicines to those in need. The urgency for accessible and affordable healthcare solutions has never been more evident, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, which highlighted the need for a coordinated and sustainable medicines marketplace tailored to low- and middle-income countries. 

Axmed’s B2B marketplace optimises the procurement process for healthcare providers in emerging and growth markets, catering to the public, third-sector, and private entities. The platform aggregates demand for both off-patent and patented medicines, creating larger, more cost-effective order volumes for manufacturers while simultaneously enhancing buyer leverage on cost and availability. 

The platform further streamlines the process by curating and consolidating Requests for Proposals and efficiently mapping out supply logistics. This approach creates a win-win outcome. It lowers the barriers to accessing costly medicines for patients and providers while enabling manufacturers to expand their footprint in underserved markets.

Emmanuel Akpakwu, CEO of Axmed commented: “We are not merely developing a medicines platform; we are creating a bold new vision for the future of medicine accessibility. This vision not only empowers buyers but also unlocks the full potential of growth markets, allowing suppliers to compete effectively.”

“We’re delighted to back this outstanding team,” added Lukas Weder, Founding Partner at Founderful. “The team’s commitment and enthusiasm for addressing this important challenge is inspiring. We have every confidence in their ability to reshape the $140 billion LMIC pharma market, improving access to medicines for over 6 billion individuals. “

“Industry leaders and healthcare providers are aligned in their support for Axmed’s model, recognising its potential to significantly enhance medicine accessibility in Low and Middle-Income Countries. “Axmed’s approach could fundamentally change how patients obtain treatments,” remarked Roselyne Opel, Head of the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Pooled Procurement Initiative (OECS PPI). “We look forward to seeing their platform reshape access, empowering buyers and strengthening supply of lifesaving therapies to a broader patient base.”

James Nyamongo, CEO of the Nairobi Hospital, Kenya added: “Axmed’s approach not only empowers us to gain access to life-saving medicines affordably, it also fosters real competition that raises the quality bar, bringing the highest quality local and global manufacturers to our doorstep.” 

Thibaud Lefort, Head of Operations for Sanofi’s Global Health Unit, added: “Axmed’s model presents a powerful opportunity to deliver much-needed positive change across global health. We are eager to see their platform transform the access landscape, improving supplier-ability to reach more patients with lifesaving therapies, especially in underserved environments”

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