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Tech Firm Tackles Opioid Crisis

By Johanna Cano, posted May 7, 2021
HEALTH CARE | OPIAID DAVID REESER, CEO | YEAR FOUNDED: 2018 | EMPLOYEES: 13 (Photo by Michael Cline Spencer)
Before the COVID-19 pandemic dominated health care headlines, the opioid epidemic had been, and still is, at the center of concerns for many communities in the U.S.
 
One Wilmington startup is leading efforts in the region to help treat the disease by using data and technology to assist Medication-Assisted Treatment (MAT) rehab centers.
 
OpiAID is a life science company building a digital platform that takes data from wearables and electronic medical records to provide personalized plans and improve the outcomes for those in treatment for addiction.
 
The startup’s solution is delivered through a cloud-based, software-asa- service (SaaS) product that, according to its website, improves “clinical outcomes and client retention as we gather and analyze the data used as the basis of the SaaS product that will scale to serve the entire MAT focused market.”
 
The company was launched in 2018 by CEO David Reeser and Stan Trofimchuk (though Trofimchuck is no longer involved in day-to-day operations) and has grown since, now having 13 employees.
 
Last year, the startup received a $276,000 federal grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) as well as $55,000 from the NIH Innovation Corps (I-Corps) program.
 
In February, the company received $74,500 in a state grant from the One North Carolina Small Business Program, aimed at helping small companies develop new and innovative technologies.
 
Reeser said these grants helped the company with research and the development of a commercialization strategy for the product, as well as with job creation.
 
Currently, OpiAID is looking toward a software launch in June and is working on research with Coastal Horizons Center, a local addiction treatment facility.
 
“We are actively executing NIH-funded research today at Coastal Horizons,” Reeser said. “We are pre-revenue at the moment, outside of the $406,000 we have raised through non-dilutive grants.”
 
When starting the company in 2018, the startup’s founders wanted to apply technology to see how they can help solve a pressing community problem.
 
“We thought to ourselves, ‘How can we use technology, specifically artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning in a way that wasn’t scary and in fact improve the human condition?’” Reeser said in a 2019 interview. “The desire to start the company was wanting to help our neighbors or anyone struggling with opioid abuse.”
 
This year and in 2022, Reeser hopes to continue advancing the company toward more research and grants.
 
“I plan to have a successful pilot so that we can publish our results in early fall of this year. We will have an additional 10 clinics online before the end of 2021,” Reeser said. “OpiAID will also apply for a Helping to End Addiction Long-term Initiative (or NIH HEAL Initiative) this summer and a Phase II of the NIH Small Business Innovation Research program by January 2022. Our non-dilutive grants funds will be around $3 million over the next 12 months.”

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