A letter from Kalderos CEO Jeremy Docken
Everyone wants patients to have access to the drugs they need at a price they can afford. Yet many efforts to make drugs more affordable have continued to fall short, because they’ve failed to center the needs of the patient, the most important stakeholder in the healthcare system.
Before founding Kalderos, I spent a decade in consulting, working with the pharmaceutical industry to address the systemic issues at the intersection between drug discount programs and the complex ecosystem of drug manufacturers, payers, providers and pharmacies (a.k.a. the “drug channel”). That experience impressed upon me the magnitude and complexity of the failings in the current system.
Just as importantly, I’ve seen those failings firsthand. As my mom’s former financial and healthcare power of attorney, I did my best to help her choose the most cost-effective options under Medicare Part D. Yet her out-of-pocket costs for 15+ different medications remained incredibly high, putting financial stress on the whole family. Even as an “expert” myself, I found navigating the complexities of this system totally overwhelming. Yet elderly patients without that industry knowledge are left to navigate it every day.
Patients are in urgent need of an innovative solution. I became determined to help find it, and in 2016, together with my co-founders, I launched Kalderos. Our mission: developing the world’s first Drug Discount Management platform, a unifying technology that would bring transparency, trust and efficiency to drug discount and rebate programs.
Our first area of focus was the 340B Drug Pricing Program, which provides essential support for healthcare providers that serve vulnerable populations, creating savings that allow for better care for millions of patients in both urban and rural communities. For 30 years, stakeholders have been trying to find a reliable way to ensure accurate payments and reduce friction between payers, providers and drug manufacturers who interact with the 340B program, in order to keep the program running as intended.
Kalderos came at it with a novel approach: connect the stakeholders; enable simple, streamlined communication; and apply machine learning to create smart data science tools.
By fall of 2017, there were five of us at Kalderos. By 2018, our team had grown to 11, and we’d already identified over $100 million in misapplied discounts across a number of drug discount and rebate programs. In 2019, we raised $7 million in Series A funding. We quadrupled our team. We moved to a bigger office — twice. We began building not just a product, but a company that could successfully scale to meet the challenges we’d set out to solve. Our new and growing team came together to deliver a first-of-its-kind platform solution to benefit all 340B program stakeholders.
In 2020, we launched that solution: 340B Pay. We made the shift to remote work during the pandemic while continuing to onboard dozens of new team members. And we raised $28 million in Series B funding, making us more ready than ever to fulfill our mission of solving systemic problems in the healthcare system and empowering all of healthcare to focus on the health of people.
As we dive deeper into 2021, we see big developments on the horizon for the business of healthcare. Industry trends are driving change; so is the massive impact of COVID-19. A new administration has begun to tackle the ongoing challenge of drug affordability, and policy shifts will likely follow.
While our government leaders align on policy, Kalderos is building the data-driven platform to help our partners turn those policies into action, complying smoothly and efficiently. We measure our success by how we empower others to focus on improving the lives of patients.
During this pivotal moment, it’s the perfect time to launch our inaugural annual report. In this yearly update, we’ll share our perspective on the state of the industry, inform our stakeholders on the progress we’ve made in executing against our goals, and expand on our vision for the future.
Kalderos is built on a few core values: We are inspired. We are steadfast. We are collaborative. We are courageous. And we always strive toward excellence. The more we grow, the better ability we have to enact these values. I’m so excited for what we’ll build together in 2021.