September 17, 2009

Medical Firm Gets A Dose Of Funding

Warren Wise  /  Post and Courier

Sabal in transition from development to sales

A Daniel Island health care technology startup is getting just what the doctor ordered for its fledgling mobile medicine cabinet business.

S.C. Launch, an affiliate of the South Carolina Research Authority, on Wednesday doled out a second cash infusion of $100,000 to Sabal Medical to help it move from the research and development stage to sales and marketing.

The company provides automated medication carts with bar-code verification software to help nurses and pharmacists deliver the right dosages of medications at the right times.

"We have crossed out of research and development and started selling into the market," Bill Park, Sabal president and chief executive, said before a media event at Trident Research Center in North Charleston.

"We are in the process of raising $8 million in growth equity to allow us to attack the market hard," he said. "What S.C. Launch has done for us is to give us a bridge loan from post-R&D to closing the $8 million round of commercial financing."

Sabal markets mainly to rural hospitals of less than 100 beds that are trying to save on soaring medical expenses, Park said. The company snared accounts at two hospitals in Maryland and Florida this year, with other opportunities pending throughout the U.S. and Canada, he said.

"We have a safer system and a less expensive system," Park said.

With five employees now, Sabal hopes to hire up to 35 by the end of next year in sales, service, production and software engineering.

Sabal relocated to South Carolina from Washington state in 2006 after receiving an initial $200,000 investment from S.C. Launch.

At the same time, Sabal formed an alliance with Greenville Hospital System, nationally known for its leading-edge pharma technology, where Sabal's automated medication carts were tested.

Sabal Medical was the first S.C. Launch landing party, a company that relocates to South Carolina from elsewhere in the country.

The company subsequently obtained $2.6 million in private capital funding from Massachusetts-based Nexus Medical Partners and its German affiliate, Medicis Nexus Partners GmbH.