Free Market Health Raises $13.5 Million in Series A Funding to Streamline the Specialty Pharmacy Ecosystem with a Care-Driven Marketplace Platform

  • Alta Partners leads funding round with support from existing investors Highmark Ventures and 653 Investment Partners
  • Maintaining a low profile during its first year, the company generated significant cost savings for payers, created a level playing field of new opportunities for specialty pharmacies and improved patient outcomes, as seen by the 36% reduction in medication abandonment of authorized referrals
  • The capital will enable the company’s team of specialty pharmacy industry experts to scale beyond the hundreds of millions of dollars in specialty medication spend already managed by the platform 

PITTSBURGH, Pennsylvania – Free Market Health, a healthcare technology company transforming the specialty pharmacy ecosystem with a care-driven marketplace platform, today announced its $13.5 million Series A financing led by Alta Partners and with participation from existing investors Highmark Ventures and 653 Investment Partners. The capital will support Free Market Health as it scales its innovative, care-driven marketplace platform that streamlines the complex and opaque specialty medication fulfillment process to benefit all its stakeholders: patients, specialty pharmacies, and payers.

The process to get a specialty medication authorized by a payer, to the right pharmacy, and in the hands of a patient should be a simple process. But misdirected interactions, process missteps and misaligned incentives cause multiweek delays in medication access, a burden that wastes resources, generates confusion and ultimately fails patients.

“From delays in prior authorization requests to uncertainty on the best fit specialty pharmacy and medication pricing variability, the existing specialty pharmacy ecosystem fails to do what it’s meant to do: efficiently deliver lifesaving and life-altering medications into the hands of patients,” said Joe Cardosi, founder and chief executive officer of Free Market Health. "Our mission is to ensure the specialty medication referral and reimbursement process never fails the patient, and we’re thrilled to have support from innovative and passionate investors like Alta Partners, Highmark Ventures and 653 Investment Partners.”

Free Market Health’s cloud-based marketplace platform complements and augments a payer’s existing processes and vendors to facilitate the timely match of specialty medication referral and pharmacy while balancing the cost and value of care. While maintaining a low profile through its first year of launch, the company has been laser-focused on executing its value proposition for all its stakeholders. With Free Market Health, payers are enabling a seamless match to best-fit pharmacies, systematically managing continuity of care when appropriate, and transparently generating meaningful savings. Specialty pharmacies of all types and sizes are gaining fair, easy access to payer-authorized specialty medication referrals that may match their care and business model. And patients are receiving optimized care from accountable specialty pharmacies capable of meeting their needs.

With a year of full scale operating under its belt, the care-driven marketplace platform has facilitated a seamless match of thousands of specialty medication referrals and has hundreds of millions of dollars in specialty medication spend under management. Most importantly, patients are benefitting from a better orchestrated process that’s leading to better patient outcomes, as demonstrated by the company’s 36 percent reduction in medication abandonment of payer-authorized referrals.

Until now, no model seamlessly matched patients to the specialty pharmacy best suited for their care needs, let alone enabled the type of value orientation under a market-driven and dynamic reimbursement framework,” said Pete Hudson, managing director at Alta Partners. “Free Market Health sits at the intersection of price, value, and efficiency, for the ultimate benefit of the patient.”

“Our collaboration with Free Market Health means that Highmark members will enjoy quicker access to prescription drugs for chronic, high-cost health conditions, from specialty pharmacies tailored to serve their particular condition,” said Sarah Marche, senior vice president of pharmacy services for Highmark Inc. “By removing pain points in the specialty pharmacy process for patients and providers alike, we’re promoting better clinical care and outcomes for our members. Working with Free Market Health advances our goal of transforming the pharmacy experience for our members and ensuring they have access to proven, affordable prescription drugs that help them be at their best.”

Free Market Health is led by an expert team with deep specialty pharmacy and payer experience, including its founder and CEO Joe Cardosi, Chief Technology Officer Mark Conklin, Chief Operating Officer Mike Simas, and Chief Commercial Officer Don Vidic. In addition to a team that intimately knows the industry, the company has an accomplished board of directors: Alta Partners Managing Director Pete Hudson, Highmark Ventures VP of Strategic Investments Steve Christensen, 653 Investment Partners Co-Founder and Principal Sean Creehan, and former President of Walgreens and current Tivity Health CEO Richard Ashworth. Officially launching the platform in early 2021, Free Market Health’s team has tripled over the past year to serve a growing payer client base and a national, high-quality specialty pharmacy network, with multiple large, national payers and new specialty pharmacies expected to onboard before the year end.