Wolters Kluwer deals health analytics unit to private equity firm

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Symphony Technology Group, a private equity firm, acquired the healthcare analytics business of Wolters Kluwer, the companies said.

Co-presidents Bob Jansen and Michelle Woker will continue to manage the company under existing name Source Healthcare Analytics, and the new owner will combine it with portfolio company ImpactRx, which acquired two other firms last year, to form a new parent entity, Symphony Health Solutions. Terms were not disclosed, but as part of the agreement Wolters Kluwer will retain a minority interest in the entity.

These companies offer the chance to have a “very comprehensive set of conversations with customers about their business,” said J.T. Treadwell, managing director with Symphony. “We've got some work to do to really bring the companies together to create a compelling business model around these capabilities.”

The focus will be on delivering data, analytics, and technology for clients across life science manufacturers, payers and providers, according to a statement about the purchase released Monday evening.

Source marks Symphony's fourth acquisition of a pharma marketing-research company in the past year. In April 2011, the private equity firm bought ImpactRx for an undisclosed sum. That firm's panel of iPhone-wielding doctors helps assess the effectiveness of pharma in-office promotions. Three months later, ImpactRx bought TargetRx, whose database captures metrics related to physicians' propensity to prescribe. Custom researcher AlphaDetail followed this past March.

These three businesses form a physician-centric set of research tools. Source, the fourth, adds diversity to the mix with brands that provide longitudinal patientand physician-level prescribing and usage data (Source); three-dimensional market view of prescriber, patient and payer activity (ProMetis); national-level audits (PHAST); and pipeline analysis (inThought).

For Wolters Kluwer, the divestiture of the analytics unit was the second and final step in jettisoning its Pharma Solutions business unit. The Dutch company announced its plan to divest the Pharma Solutions division last July as part of a strategic decision to focus on point-of-care tools and professional content. The other half—the marketing and publishing services unit—was sold to SpringerScience+Business Media last November.

“We have been pretty active," said Treadwell, "and I would expect that over time we will continue to make more acquisitions….We will be pretty interested in continuing to broaden the footprint.”

He added, “The industry is going through a lot of change right now with new people trying to [implement] their new commercial models and how do they work in this leaner environment and how do they [design] it within an environment where primary care is going to be less of a driver than it used to be.

“The value proposition associated with making a really good decision is going to go up over time as opposed to being able to…throw ‘bodies at the problem,'" he told MM&M. "That's something that other industries we participate in like CPG and retail went through a long time ago and are pretty sophisticated in analytical and how they approach things. Our goal really is to try and help drive the same type of decision-making frameworks over here.”

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