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AI Medicine Shortage Solution Secures £625,000 Investment

Pharmaceutical sourcing platform iethico has secured a £625,000 investment from the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) managed by Midven, part of the Future Planet Capital Group to help combat global medicine shortages.

The investment, which is split into two tranches, will help the company boost its headcount and complete the market testing of its platform. The second tranche will be used as the cornerstone of a larger series A funding round.

iethico will provide pharmacists with a platform that allows them to obtain difficult-to-access medicines. By linking pharmacists with wholesalers across the world through its platform, iethico reduces time spent on sourcing medicines and creates a competitive marketplace that addresses drug supply chain deficiencies, saving pharmacies money.

The company’s AI-powered solution will be able to give clear indications of medicine shortages and have the capability to predict future supply chain challenges – something which is not currently possible.

According to a study by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association 90 per cent of pharmacists feel that medicine shortages have increased in the last 12 months, and now affect over 20% of prescription drugs. By providing pharmacists with better buying options, Midven recognised that the company has the potential to make a critical difference in a competitive marketplace. iethico possesses a strong management team with extensive experience within the pharmaceutical sector, which further cemented the investment deal.

Midven is a co-signatory of the Investing in Women Code and with the investment into iethico, the venture capitalist has backed its eighth company by a female founder.

Tony Stott, CEO and Fund Principal at Midven, said: “Drug shortages are placing increasing pressure on pharmacists, and disrupting patients’ medical treatments, on a worldwide basis. MEIF investment will allow iethico to re-engineer the medicine procurement process, providing more reliable access to pharmacists and enabling better outcomes for patients.”

Debra Ainge, CEO of iethico, said: “Medicine shortages are a recognized major public health concern, occurring every day across healthcare settings, affecting patients and all stakeholders involved in their care. Most shortages are localised, pointing towards inequitable distribution and access rather than global supply issues and proper understanding of shortages remains substantially challenged by inconsistent and limited data. The investment from Midven enables us to help overcome these limitations, not only ensuring medicines supply in times of need but ultimately addressing inequality in access to medicines.”

Mark Wilcockson, Senior Investment Manager at the British Business Bank, said: “The MEIF is committed to supporting the growth of SMEs across the Midlands. This funding for iethico is the perfect example of how this investment will lead to new advancements in the pharmaceutical industry making the company a pioneer in the sector. We encourage other companies in the Midlands with stand-out business ideas to consider MEIF funding for their growth plans.”

Alun Rogers, Chair of the Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire LEP, said: “We are pleased to see that iethico has been able to secure funding through MEIF to complete the market testing of its platform and create new employment opportunities.

“Technologies such as AI have revolutionised healthcare in recent years, and we are looking forward to seeing more companies like iethico develop innovative digital solutions that enable the work of healthcare professionals while making a difference in patient care.

“We would encourage other local businesses within the LEP area to consider the options available through the MEIF and also take advantage of wider support from the Stoke-on- Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub.”

The Midlands Engine Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.

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About iethico Founded in 2021 by Debra Ainge, iethico works to bridge the shortage gap between medicine access and supply by delivering insights and forecasting to minimise shortage impact through AI and machine learning solutions. The company is based in the Midlands. Ainge, who has previously worked with AstraZeneca, the Clinigen Group and Parexel Informatics, started iethico alongside Renee Kalia and Claudio Zurzica to combat the global medicine shortages and provide pharmacists with better supply chain options. For more information about iethico visit, About Midven For more than 25 years, leading Birmingham-based venture capital firm Midven has been supporting Midlands SMEs, investing more than £60m into the region and raising £200m co- investment into its portfolio. Midven’s 'more than money' approach helps to build strong and successful companies and support businesses every step of the way. Midven continues to extend its reach to invest in the Midlands’ most ambitious entrepreneurs through its appointment to manage the £40 million equity portion of the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF), as well as the launch of the firm’s first Enterprise Investment Scheme (EIS) fund. Midven was acquired by Future Planet Capital in April 2021. For more information about Midven, please visit About Future Planet Capital Future Planet Capital Limited is a global venture capital and impact investor, connecting the world's largest investors to the best minds in order to address global challenges. The firm is focused on providing growth capital to leading entrepreneurs and businesses from the world’s top universities and has deployed over $100M on behalf of institutional investors to date. Future Planet Capital’s goal is to profitably solve the world's greatest challenges in climate change, education, health, sustainable growth & security. For more information about Future Planet please visit About the Midlands Engine Investment Fund (MEIF) The Midlands Engine Investment Fund will invest in Debt Finance, Small Business Loans, Proof-of-Concept and Equity Finance funds, ranging from £25,000 to £2m, specifically to help small and medium sized businesses secure the funding they need for growth and development. The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is operated by British Business Financial Services Limited, wholly owned by British Business Bank, the UK’s national economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. The Midlands Engine Investment Fund is supported by the European Regional Development Fund, the European Investment Bank, the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and British Business Finance Limited, a British Business Bank group company. The MEIF covers the following LEP areas: Black Country, Coventry & Warwickshire, Greater Birmingham & Solihull, Stoke-on-Trent and Staffordshire, The Marches, and Worcestershire in the West Midlands; and Derby, Derbyshire, Nottingham & Nottinghamshire (D2N2) Greater Lincolnshire, Leicester & Leicestershire, and South-East Midlands in the East and South-East Midlands. The project is receiving up to £78,550,000 of funding from the England European Regional Development Fund as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020. The programme will continue to run until the end of 2023. The Ministry for Housing, Communities and Local Government is the Managing Authority for the European Regional Development Fund. Established by the European Union, the European Regional Development Fund helps local areas stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations. For more information visit The European Investment Bank is providing £122,500,000 to support the Midlands Engine Investment Fund. This follows backing for the Northern Powerhouse in 2017 and backing for the newly launched North East Fund. For further information visit The funds in which Midlands Engine Investment Fund invests are open to businesses with material operations in or planning to open material operations in the West Midlands and East & South-East Midlands. The British Business Bank has published the Business Finance Guide (in partnership with the ICAEW, and a further 21 business and finance organisations). The guide, which impartially sets out the range finance options available to businesses and provides links to support available at a regional level, is available at About the British Business Bank The British Business Bank is the UK government’s economic development bank. Established in November 2014, its mission is to make finance markets for smaller businesses work more effectively, enabling those businesses to prosper, grow and build UK economic activity. Its remit is to design, deliver and efficiently manage UK-wide smaller business access to finance programmes for the UK government. The British Business Bank’s core programmes support nearly £8bn of finance to almost 94,800 smaller businesses. Since March 2020, the British Business Bank has also launched four new Coronavirus business loan schemes, delivering almost £73bn of finance to around 1.6m businesses. As well as increasing both supply and diversity of finance for UK smaller businesses through its programmes, the Bank works to raise awareness of the finance options available to smaller businesses. The British Business Bank Finance Hub provides independent and impartial information to businesses about their finance options, featuring short films, expert guides, checklists and articles from finance providers to help make their application a success. In light of the coronavirus pandemic and EU Exit, the Finance Hub has expanded, and it now targets a wider business audience. It continues to provide information and support for scale- up, high growth and potential high growth businesses, but now provides increased content, information, and products for businesses in survival and recovery mindsets. The Finance Hub has been redesigned and repositioned to reflect this, during this period of economic uncertainty. British Business Bank plc is a public limited company registered in England and Wales, registration number 08616013, registered office at Steel City House, West Street, Sheffield, S1 2GQ. It is a development bank wholly owned by HM Government. British Business Bank plc and its subsidiaries are not banking institutions and do not operate as such. They are not authorised or regulated by the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) or the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). A complete legal structure chart for the group can be found at

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