Holland & Barrett backs London based Floe Oral Care to tackle gum disease via salivary biomarkers

Floe Oral Care, the oral healthcare business dedicated to improving oral and systemic health by means of a direct-to-consumer subscription, has secured £350k from a group of high profile investors including Holland & Barrett, Lord Mervyn Davies, Tim Farazmand, Professor John Deanfield CBE, Sir Nigel Rudd, and Julio Bruno. Existing shareholders Stephen Welton, Dr. Jose Navarro, and Charles Southey are also following on.

Founded by Anglo-Spanish duo Will Welton and Javier Navarro, Floe is an online subscription service on a mission to address the UK’s ‘dental care timebomb’ by building a preventative routine for consumers and providing vital insights into undetected gum disease.
Will Welton, Co-founder at Floe Oral Care said: “If your mouth is the gateway to your body, then protecting it requires not only using the right products but also visibility of what condition your gums are in. The impact of gum disease is significant, and the prevalence of periodontitis has barely changed over the last 20 years. Our mission is to build a service that both tracks and improves oral and systemic health. We want to encourage a pro-active relationship with dental care by capturing and contextualising oral health data, and are thrilled to be bringing on board a fantastic group of investors from business and healthcare as well as an excellent and highly relevant corporate partner. This is a great platform for the next stage of our development”

Periodontitis is now the sixth most prevalent disease in the world, and according to research led by The Economist Intelligence Unit (IEU), costs the UK £6.4bn a year in treatment. Nearly half the adults in the UK have some form of periodontal disease, which has increasingly been shown to raise the risk of serious health conditions including cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Its awareness has remained low however amongst the general public and other health professionals – it’s often referred to as a silent killer – with the study showing that three out of four adults with periodontitis do not know they have the condition at all.
Tamara Rajah MBE, Chief Business & Science Officer, Holland and Barrett: “H&B are committed to making health and wellness a way of life for everyone, and to supporting early-stage innovation in wellness as part of our strategy. Recognising that effective oral health management can disproportionately impact an individual’s overall health and wellness, coupled with our interest about the potential of diagnostics, makes Floe very exciting for us. We look forward to working with Will, Javier and the team at Floe to optimise the way we manage our oral health and improve lives.”

Floe is building a data driven approach, designed to cast light on untreated periodontitis and put the right measures in place to improve it. The service will track gum health via proprietary at home saliva testing whilst delivering essential products to support your oral health. Floe launched their core dental kit in August 2020, delivering their own unique toothpaste formulations (Dusk and Dawn), an ultra-soft toothbrush, and charcoal dental floss, delivered every three months to improve preventative habits in a more sustainable way. The products are all built with the environment in mind, including a free-returns service collecting used products for specialist recycling when subscribers’ new boxes arrive.

Julio Bruno, CEO of Time Out Group plc, will be joining the board as a Non-Executive Director whilst Stephen Welton, founder and Executive Chairman of BGF, the UK’s largest growth capital investor, will remain as the Chairman. Professor John Deanfield CBE joins Floe as Chief Medical Officer, to put together a world leading Advisory Board to inform the strategy of the saliva testing and future healthcare products. Professor Deanfield is one of the leading cardiologists in the UK and has published several papers on the linkage between oral and systemic health.

Quote from Professor John Deanfield CBE: “We now understand the big impact oral health can have on important diseases in the rest of the body. This underpins a new opportunity to benefit from a change in approach to oral health – I am excited to be joining Floe to help address this.”

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