Prescription management app Echo has secured £7 million in Series A funding as the company behind the service looks to build out its business and expand collaboration with healthcare providers.

The first round of funding (Series A) is being led by venture capital fund White Star Capital and follows a £1.8 million seed round in 2016.

Sai Lakshmi, co-founder and CEO of Echo, said the latest round of funding would be used to build the UK-based start-up’s engineering team and further invest in Research and Development as it looks to its “next stage of growth,” which potentially includes deeper integration with the NHS.

“White Star Capital brings decades of experience to scaling digital businesses and we’re excited to work with them on Echo’s next stage of growth”, Lakshmi said. “Our relentless focus on user experience has created a service that improves our quality of life while saving money for a cash-strapped NHS.”

Echo is a smartphone app that allows patients to automatically reorder prescriptions from their GP practice when their medication runs low and have it delivered to their doorstep free of charge. Patients are also able to scan in the barcode on their medication and have dosing instructions provided as ‘smart’ reminders on their mobile phone.

According to its creators, the app works with 90% of NHS England GP surgeries and has been downloaded more than 50,000 times since being released in November 2016.

Echo aims to help the NHS cut down on an estimated £18 billion it spends each year on medication, by reducing the amount that is wasted through not being taken according to instruction.

Figures released by Echo shows 40% of prescriptions are not taken as directed, which can lead to patients developing secondary health problems in addition to wasted medication and emergency doctor appointments.

The app also allows patients to cut trips to their GP or pharmacy and helps health practices reduce administration time by having medication delivered to patients’ homes instead.

As reported by Digital Health News in August 2017, an early in-house study into the effectiveness of the app concluded that Echo helped 83% of users take their medication as prescribed.

Christian Hernandez, managing partner at White Star Capital, said: “Echo is bringing smart, data-driven solutions to a problem that affects millions of people. The team’s focus on product design and their collaboration with the NHS continuously delights patients while benefiting doctors and the NHS.

“Echo puts the patient at the centre of the healthcare journey, streamlining medication management and hopefully improving their quality of life.”