Australian health startup Eucalyptus has launched its weight management platform Juniper in Japan. The user-friendly platform upends traditional telehealth solutions with a wholistic service, offering online clinical consults, e-prescriptions and ongoing care.
It’s a first-of-its-kind model that Eucalyptus believes is key to helping patients manage chronic conditions and eradicating avoidable lifestyle diseases.
‘We’re incredibly excited to launch Juniper into Japan,’ says Shuji Wada, Operations and Business Development Manager, Eucalyptus Japan. ‘Eucalyptus goes far beyond facilitating digital consults. The interactions that follow the initial consult go on to improve the long-term health and livelihoods of entire families.’
‘We look forward to empowering the Japanese population with access to life-changing care, with a view to treating and preventing type 2 diabetes for generations to come.’
Founded in 2019, Eucalyptus and its 400-person team have delivered more than 800,000 online consultations to nearly 600,000 patients worldwide. The startup has raised A$118 million since March 2020.
Eucalyptus runs 4 telehealth clinics: men’s health platform Pilot, tele-dermatology brand Software, fertility health service Kin, and weight loss clinic Juniper. Patients consult with registered clinicians, who develop treatment plans and send e-scripts to a Eucalyptus partner pharmacy.
An integrated care team then provides ongoing support, while a virtual community allows users to connect and discuss their experiences. ‘Community is such a big part of a successful healthcare outcome,’ says Charlie Gearside, Eucalyptus’ Co-founder. ‘We’ve found that daily contact has led to more potent results.’
In Australia, Eucalyptus claims to have saved Medicare (Australia’s public health system) $30 million to date through its tailored assessment and treatment programs. For example, the Juniper program identified 100 previously undiagnosed Type 2 diabetic patients and a further 1,000 pre-diabetic patients.
With obesity rates rising worldwide, Eucalyptus focuses on helping people manage their weight. This helps lower their risk of developing diseases such as type 2 diabetes. The company launched Juniper in the UK in April 2022 and in Germany in March 2023. It then set its sights on Japan, one of the world’s largest healthcare markets.
Around 20% of Japan’s population has a BMI of 25 and above, which is considered obese in the country. This has contributed to Japan having one of the world’s highest rates of diabetes. Diabetes can increase the risk of secondary ailments such as cardiovascular disease.
Telehealth is a growing market in Japan, projected to reach $14.9 billion by 2030. ‘Our wholistic approach to telehealth is something Japan hasn’t seen yet,’ says Gearside. ‘Juniper empowers patients to take their health into their own hands. It helps them make better choices every day that lead to lifelong habits they can sustain.’
Japan was an attractive market because its well-developed healthcare system meant Eucalyptus didn’t need to make major adjustments to its business model. The company’s founders could also use their experience launching mattress and furniture brand Koala in Japan.
Eucalyptus worked with local advisers and cold-called clinics and pharmacies to discuss potential partnerships. The team’s ‘muscle and hustle’ efforts received a boost when Austrade became involved.
‘Austrade has been really helpful across a number of touch points,’ says Gearside. ‘They’ve made introductions and offered to come to meetings with potential partners, which has been fantastic. They’ve also sent letters to help us communicate with partners. Those letters have supported our outreach and opened doors to conversations we may not have had.’
Eucalyptus is now working with a clinic to provide consultations and prescribe medicines. Dieticians and nutritionists will also work with patients to make healthy lifestyle changes.
‘Working with Austrade and other government bodies also showed us the strong trade relationship between Australia and Japan,’ says Gearside. ‘We look forward to leveraging this relationship to showcase the innovation we’ve built in Australia and are bringing to Japan.’
Eucalyptus is keen to expand to new markets, with India and Southeast Asia the leading contenders. The company is also keen to launch its other brands in Japan, the UK and Germany.
‘We started Eucalyptus to help break down barriers that stopped men from accessing healthcare,’ says Gearside. ‘It’s grown into something much more ambitious than we originally planned and we’re looking forward to taking it to the world.’