Clear River Enviro raises $1.5 million for RxDestructPublished: Friday, January 5, 2018 By: Brian Brus Source: The Journal Record
A new Oklahoma company has raised $1.5 million to develop a way to keep opioids out of the wrong hands.
I2E Inc., a nonprofit corporation that invests in Oklahoma-based technology startups, led the series-A investment round for Clear River Enviro through several of its managed funds: the Oklahoma Seed Capital Fund, SeedStep Angels, Accelerate Oklahoma Fund and Oklahoma Angel Fund 1. A remainder of $173,000 came from other investors.
Mark Macdonell, Clear River Enviro co-founder and chief executive, said the proceeds will be used to design the next iteration of RxDestruct, a patented product already in use at several surgery centers and hospitals across the country. Units in use will be upgraded as well.
The federal government provides a partial solution to the problem RxDestruct is designed to address, although it’s clunky and inefficient in the face of growing opioid abuse. The Drug Enforcement Administration holds two nationwide events each year at which prescription drugs are accepted for disposal. The most recent take-back in October yielded more than 450 tons of pills, the DEA reported.
The Secure and Responsible Drug Disposal Act of 2010 and a Drug Enforcement Administration rule update in 2014 allows pharmacies, clinics and the like to accept drugs for disposal year-round. However, it’s only recently that those interests have started enacting the potentially expensive option, which also requires close monitoring and product destruction.
The CVS pharmacy chain in Washington, D.C., for example, recently announced the installation of drug disposal bins at about 60 stores in that area. Law enforcement agencies in several Louisiana parishes announced they are doing the same.
“Secure disposal of leftover and expired medications is a key prevention strategy in reducing misuse and diversion of medicines to combat drug abuse and prevent overdoses,” according to researchers at Community Environmental Health Strategies LLC who released a review of several such products in April.
“Disposing of unwanted medicines in the household trash creates risks of unintended exposures, drug diversion and environmental pollution. This recognition has increased interest in and implementation of secure medicine take-back programs,” the CEHS report says. “It has also sparked a new market sector of products designed for in-home disposal of waste medicines that are described as easy and safe ways to alter pharmaceuticals so that they are safe for trash disposal.”
That’s what Clear River Enviro set out to do. Tommy Stern, the company’s chief sales executive and co-developer of RxDestruct, said feedback from professionals who have used the product suggests they’re much happier to destroy unused drugs immediately than trust that it’s being taken care of somewhere down the line or possibly stolen out of a trash bin. Stern wouldn’t