The Irish company is also in talks about a joint research study that will explore the long-term economic benefits of its products.
Theya Healthcare, which produces bamboo fibre underwear designed specifically for post-surgical use, has secured a major investment from a US health organisation.
The Irish company secured €500,000 in funding from the University of Vermont Health Network, a not-for-profit academic health system that serves more than 1m residents across Vermont and northern New York.
Theya Healthcare was founded in 2015 by Ciara Donlon and is based at NovaUCD. The company previously featured in Silicon Republic’s Start-up of the Week series.
Its flagship post-surgery lingerie range is designed primarily for use by breast cancer patients and currently retails across Ireland, the UK, mainland Europe, Australia, Canada, South Africa and the US.
Theya first entered the US market in 2019, when it signed a deal with US purchasing co-op Greenhealth Exchange.
The deal saw the company become a preferred supplier to 11 large healthcare systems, including the Mayo Clinic, Dignity Health, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical and the UVM Health Network.
Donlon said the investment is an endorsement of Theya Healthcare’s products. “In addition to its reach across Vermont and northern New York, the UVM Health Network is a member of a strong network of hospital groups, which will give us new access to the medical B2B market as we expand our footprint in the US,” she said.
US joint research study
As part of the company’s US expansion, Theya Healthcare is also in talks with an Illinois-based hospital group about the roll-out of a joint research study that would examine the economic benefits of bamboo fabric.
If it goes ahead, the joint study would build on previous research undertaken in conjunction with University College Dublin in 2017. This study found that the company’s bamboo fabric mix is naturally highly antibacterial, absorbent and wicks moisture more efficiently than cotton or synthetic materials.
“Both our previous research and anecdotal evidence we have gathered over the past number of years clearly shows that our unique bamboo fibre mix aids post-operative wound healing, significantly decreases the likelihood of infection, and makes women feel better physically and psychologically,” said Donlon.
“It is our intention to build on this knowledge with this new joint study in the US, and to demonstrate how the use of our naturally antibacterial, highly absorbent, hypoallergenic and thermally regulating fabric can ultimately severely cut healthcare costs.”