Irish health and wellbeing garment producer Theya Healthcare has announced that it has secured another investment for its medical garment business. The latest funding comes from the University of Vermont (UVM) Health Network, a not-for-profit integrated academic health system that serves more than one million residents in the northeastern US.
The investment into Theya Healthcare is made through the UVM Health Network’s Ventures team, which invests in healthcare innovations that benefit patients, families and the communities it serves. This latest investment follows cumulative funding of €3.5m secured by the company in its two previous funding rounds, from a mix of individual investors and Enterprise Ireland.
“We are delighted to have secured this significant investment from one of the world’s premier not-for-profit health systems with the support of Enterprise Ireland. It’s a fantastic endorsement of our unique healthcare products, and will help us to further develop our reach across the US market,” said Ciara Donlon, CEO, Theya Healthcare. “In addition to its reach across Vermont and Northern New York, the UVM Health Network is a member of a strong network of hospital groups, which will give us new access to the medical B2B market as we expand our footprint in the US.”
The company, which produces bamboo fiber underwear designed specifically for post-surgical use under its Theya Healthcare brand, first entered the US market in 2019 with the help of Enterprise Ireland, when it signed a deal with US purchasing co-op Greenhealth Exchange, which specifies, screens and sources high-quality and ethically sourced products for its members. The deal saw the company become a preferred supplier to 11 large healthcare systems, including the Mayo Clinic, Dignity Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical, and the UVM Health Network, among others.
“Theya Healthcare is one excellent example of all of the innovative retail brands coming out of Ireland and making their impact on the US,” said Anderson Pearce, Vice President of Consumer Retail, Enterprise Ireland. “Theya produces garments that truly make a difference to people recovering from breast, thoracic, pelvic or abdominal surgery, and this investment is going to be beneficial in helping them impact more patient’s lives. Enterprise Ireland is delighted to continue supporting Theya’s goals and helping them break into new global markets.”
New US joint research study to show economic benefits of bamboo fabric
As part of its further expansion into the US market, the company is in talks with an Illinois-based hospital group about the roll-out of a joint research study. The study will explore the long-term economic benefits to health systems and insurers of Theya Healthcare’s post-surgical products and will build on previous scientific research undertaken in conjunction with University College Dublin (UCD) in 2017.
The UCD research found that the company’s unique bamboo fabric mix is naturally highly anti-bacterial, absorbent, and wicks moisture more efficiently than cotton or synthetic materials. It also showed that women who wore the Theya Healthcare post-surgical bras while recovering from breast cancer surgery reported significantly increased health status and body image, as well as reduced pain levels.
“Both our previous research and anecdotal evidence we have gathered over the past number of years clearly shows that our unique bamboo fiber mix aids post-operative wound healing, significantly decreases the likelihood of infection, and makes women feel better physically and psychologically,” said Donlon. “It is our intention to build on this knowledge with this new joint study in the US and to demonstrate how the use of our naturally anti-bacterial, highly absorbent, hypoallergenic, and thermally-regulating fabric can ultimately severely cut healthcare costs. It can do this by reducing the length of hospital stays and recovery periods, as well as lowering re-admission rates and drug prescriptions to address physical and psychological aftereffects.”
“While health systems and hospitals around the world have been severely affected by the Covid crisis over the past year, as we are emerging from the pandemic, we are excited to accelerate our expansion in the US and across other global markets to ensure access to our products to as many people as possible,” said Donlon.