Chronic pain and medical cannabis clinic, Leva, has secured US$3.5m (£3m) of funding from Óskare Capital and Weedmaps founder, Justin Hartfield.
The fundraiser aims to accelerate innovation in medical cannabis therapeutics and scale the delivery of digital solutions for chronic pain patients in the UK.
Leva Clinic is the UK’s first online clinic for people living with chronic pain and is regulated by the Care Quality Commission. Its services are accessible through the Boots Health Hub, and the clinic also has live partnerships with several NHS trusts to deliver digital therapeutic services and consultant-led patient care plans.
Raising the funds
Justin Hartfield, who founded global cannabis technology platform Weedmaps in 2008, has made the investment into Leva via his private investment office 2420 Partners – the first for 2420 in the UK and the second in Europe.
Hartfield commented: “Our investment in Leva is perfectly aligned with our goal to support emerging businesses in the pain management space globally. Leva is on the path to being a market leader in delivering innovative pain management solutions by industry-leading pain experts in the UK.
“We are excited to partner with the company in its next chapter of growth.”
Óskare Capital is a European medical and pharmaceutical cannabis fund. Dr John Rogers, Neurologist and co-founder of Óskare, will be joining Leva’s board.
Rogers said: “We have been impressed by Leva’s approach to patient care, also affirmed by their NHS contracts and recent CQC report. Leva has assembled a highly experienced team of pain management experts, and we are excited to help Leva make these patient services available across the UK.”
Oliver Lamb, Co-Founder and Investment Manager at Óskare Capital, said: “We are excited about our investment in Leva and their much needed pain management platform. One of the key issues that Óskare Capital seeks to address in the medical cannabis market is patient access, and Leva are breaking down the barriers for those patients most in need.
“Having been in discussions with the Leva team for over a year, we have been continually impressed by their vision and dedication.”
Leva co-founder and CEO Eric Bystrom said: “Leva’s unique patient-centric platform is delivering for our patients and with this investment we intend to further increase our reach across the UK and continue to build our offering through digital access.
“Justin’s experience in developing digital offerings coupled with Oskare’s life sciences expertise make them the perfect partners for this next stage of our journey.”
Pain care in the UK
Currently, one quarter of adults in the UK are living with a pain condition that has lasted over three months, with chronic pain having been dubbed a “silent epidemic”, and the condition costs the UK economy significantly more than cancer and heart disease.
A lack of personalised treatment options and difficulties in accessing clinical support currently prevents millions of adults from living a life without pain, and has fuelled a surge in opioid-related deaths.
Leva is a founding member of Project Twenty21, the largest observational medical cannabis study in the UK.
Leva’s Satoline range of medical cannabis-based medicines is part of the formulary for the trial, which is gathering evidence on the efficacy of medical cannabis-based medicines.
It is also one of three suppliers participating in the ‘I Am Billy’ Foundation RESCAS programme (Refractory Epilepsy Specialist Clinical Advisory Service) which was set up in 2020 following a legal challenge brought by campaigner Charlotte Caldwell against the UK government. It provides a much-needed route to NHS-funded medical cannabis for people under the age of 18 affected by refractory epilepsy.
Dr Arun Bhaskar, Consultant in Pain Medicine and President of the British Pain Society, will also join the board at Leva as an independent director.
Bhaskar added: “The dedication of the team to both best clinical practice and patient care is resulting in excellent patient outcomes.”