J&J leads $24M financing into maker of OTC 'liquid shots' for common ailments

Johnson & Johnson's ($JNJ) venture arm just led a $24 million Series C financing of First Aid Shot Therapy (F.A.S.T.), the maker of over-the-counter 40-ml "liquid shots" for relief of pain, colds, heartburn and hangovers.

The financing demonstrates the utility of liquid formulations as a means of enhancing convenience and marketability. F.A.S.T. medications come in a bottle and are described as having "great tasting" flavors, according to the company website.

F.A.S.T retailers include grocers HEB, Kum & Go, Circle K Southwest, United Pacific, EZ Mart, Holiday, Tedeschi's Food Shops, Schnucks, Safeway and 7-Eleven, as well as recently added pharmacies Rite-Aid and CVS.

Though less relevant to the company's brand appeal, liquid formulations have scientific benefits as well. F.A.S.T. says its medications are faster acting because they do not need to be broken down before being absorbed into the bloodstream, as is the case with tablets like aspirin. And the "liquid shots" are FDA-compliant, meaning they consist of ingredients that do not require its permission prior to use because the agency recognizes them as safe and effective.

"Innovation in the OTC market has been focused on functional benefits, but we know consumers are looking not only for effective products, but also for products that fit into their busy lifestyles. We have seen that the on-the-go occasion is growing in many consumer categories. For example, on-the-go meal replacement and snacks growth is outpacing conventional grocery snacks growth 2:1. Consumers are embracing F.A.S.T. as it offers them an easy convenient new way to effectively manage their health on the go," said F.A.S.T. founder and CEO Mary Page Platerink in a statement.

In addition to Johnson & Johnson Innovation, new investor Lumira Capital and existing investors Sofinnova Ventures, Redmile Group and HealthQuest Capital participated, as well as some others, a release says.

"We are pleased to welcome two major new investor groups to the F.A.S.T. family," Platerink said in a statement. "JJDC and Lumira Capital bring a wealth of experience in the pharmaceutical and consumer industries. Their collective knowledge of consumer healthcare will give our company important access to research, consumer behavior trends and shopper insights to help us empower consumers to manage their own health."

Platerink is a former marketing and strategy executive at Coca-Cola. "F.A.S.T.'s goal is to deliver better medicine using one umbrella brand, merchandised in one location in the store so consumers have a go to brand and place in the store where they can quickly find their healthcare needs," she previously told the Huffington Post.

- read the release