In this Q&A, you’ll hear from Dr. Ken Chahine, founder & CEO of Nectar, a personalized allergy care company. Ken shares his comprehensive vision for a fragmented allergy industry, launching custom-formulated allergy products while pursuing a hybrid model for clinics nationwide.
Can you tell us about what you’re working on at Nectar?
Dr. Ken Chahine: Allergies and their associated conditions impact over 120M Americans — more than hypertension, mood disorders, and diabetes. In fact, allergies are the #1 chronic condition impacting Americans and a leading cause of lost productivity for employers around the country.
I founded Nectar Life Sciences to address this issue, with the mission of putting an end to allergies.
Nectar’s comprehensive allergy treatment program begins with a CLIA-certified at-home allergy test to identify up to 40 indoor and outdoor allergies. A licensed provider reviews the user’s test results, as well as their clinical history, to determine the best treatment option for the user.
If the user qualifies, they can subscribe to receive at-home personalized prescription sublingual immunotherapy drops, our Nectar Allergy Drops.
With clinically appropriate, therapeutic concentrations of FDA-approved allergen extracts, the drops retrain your immune system for optimal response and are administered under the tongue in the convenience of your home.
Custom-formulated to the user (through a patent-pending protocol), the drops provide an effective and convenient alternative to allergy shots and antihistamines for patients who suffer from moderate to severe indoor and outdoor allergies. The user will start to feel relief in six to 12 months and have long-lasting relief in three to five years.
Nectar’s allergy drops are unique from others on the US market because the concentrations we use are generally higher, which is necessary to develop clinical improvement, and are based on scores of clinical studies conducted both in Europe and the US.
How did you come up with the idea? What key insight led you to pursue this opportunity?
KC: I have a background in consumer healthcare and a passion for unlocking opportunities in underserved markets facing massive and inefficient consumer pain points.
One of the largest addressable healthcare markets, the allergy industry is underserving the needs of patients. Allergies continue to result in $245B in direct medical costs and $210B in indirect costs (including lost productivity) annually.
Allergy care also has a staggeringly low Net Promoter Score of -69, one of the lowest in the healthcare industry. So, why is allergy care such a massive consumer pain point? Because allergy care is a highly fragmented industry of small physician practices and pharmaceutical companies that lacks the incentive to innovate.
In other words, allergy care desperately needs a category leader who advocates for the consumer and brings together cutting-edge scientific research, modern customer technology, and a delightful customer experience.
Who is the core customer? How are you acquiring customers? And how will you grow the customer base?
KC: Today, through our Nectar Allergy Drops, we are able to treat adults with moderate to severe indoor and outdoor allergies.
As part of our comprehensive care vision, we’re developing a hybrid virtual and physical model that meets users where they are, opening modern and tech-forward allergy centers in major metro areas across the country. These centers will be managed by leading allergists and cater to the needs of patients, including children.
Our Nectar Allergy Centers will enable us to expand to more complex allergic conditions, including asthma, food allergies, and atopic dermatitis. At these centers, we will also be prepping for our first clinical trial, which is designed to gain insurance reimbursement, making our treatments even more accessible.
Looking at your road map, what are some of the milestones you’re targeting over the next 3-6 months?
KC: Over the last year, we’ve grown our team, established our product, and raised over $24M in capital in total, including a $16.5M Series A funding round in January.
This year, we are officially launching Nectar Allergy Drops as our first product, well as personally compounded nasal sprays, which complement the drops for immediate allergy relief.
The next milestone will be the first brick-and-mortar Nectar Allergy Center.
Anything else you’d like to share with readers?
KC: To tackle allergies holistically, we believe that catalyzing global conversations with both those impacted by allergies and their providers is critical.
Nectar strives to educate people on a variety of allergy-related topics, including the impact of climate change and the food chain process on allergies, pediatric allergies, and asthma. Visit our Learning Hub, or explore our process with a free Allergy Score.
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