The latest insights on M&A activity in life sciences commercial vendors

As part of our LINX bio-pharma vendor review, Zensights is pleased to share an update on merger activity to help our clients understand the market activity that may impact their supplier relationships.

Key M&A highlights in Q4 2023:

  • Merger activity has returned. Merger activity returned to levels roughly consistent with the past few years, with eight acquisitions identified in 2023 Q4.   This reverses last year’s reduced volume identified in Q2 and Q3 (5 and 4 deals, respectively) and brings merger volume back to the range seen for much of the past few years.
  • Consolidated offerings from acquirers are driving activity. Trends identified in previous updates continue, with PE-backed rollups and large global firms driving much of the activity.   These firms are looking for an expanded share of wallets from their customers by expanding and refreshing their offerings.   While this activity by acquirers is evident, our panel of customers throughout 2023 did not report experiencing these expanded offerings, nor did they report getting incremental value from the acquisitions.   Zensights is monitoring this apparent disconnect.
  • Complexity of markets continues to increase. A number of the acquisitions were justified by their leadership and messaged to the market as required to support customers in increasingly complex markets.  Oncology was mentioned the most, but also rare diseases and other products targeted at smaller population segments drove activity.
  • Coordination within large client firms seems to be increasing. The need for increased coordination between commercial teams, brand teams, medical teams and other departments  during both launches and ongoing commercial operations is also driving some of the supplier consolidation.   A number of the acquisitions cited this justification in their messaging to the market which included strategy offerings, coordinated marketing/medical offerings and also expanded use of new and/or alternative data sources in multiple business functions.

2023 Q4 Activity

In the fourth quarter of 2023, M&A activity returned to levels consistent with much of the past few years, with eight deals by seven different acquirers identified in the firms we monitor for our clients.   The following deals were identified:

1. JPA Health purchase True North (October 2023)

Biopharma marketing and PR agency JPA Health has purchased True North Solutions to expand its strategic and data offerings. The addition “brings together synchronized experts to offer comprehensive predictive analytics, data visualization and AI-driven end-to-end solutions for life sciences, government, and non-profit organizations,” according to a press release. True North Solutions focuses on a series of therapeutic areas, including CNS, oncology, infectious diseases, and rare diseases. Its work includes expertise with brand strategy, healthcare professional and patient experience, drug launches, and medical strategy, and, as a Google Cloud partner, offers AI, predictive, and visualization capabilities.

2. Eversana Purchases Healthware Group (October 2023)

EVERSANA, a provider of global commercial services to the life sciences industry, announced the acquisition of Healthware Group, a full-service agency and innovation consultancy headquartered in Salerno, Italy. The acquisition expands EVERSANA’s European operations and worldwide capabilities to help pharmaceutical, medical device, and emerging biotech companies globally launch products, expand market access, or solve unique geographic and market-specific challenges.

3. OptimizeRx purchases Medicx Health (October 2023)

OptimizeRx, a company that facilitates engagement between biopharmaceutical companies, healthcare professionals, and patients, has acquired Medicx and its technology solutions to integrate them into its existing platform. This acquisition includes the addition of the Medicx patient and HCP-focused Micro-Neighborhood Targeting Platform, which help clients reach and engage a diverse set of patients with their ads. The company reports the capability will be wedded to OptimizeRx’s own HCP-focused Dynamic Audience Activation Platform (DAAP), creating “a single source of innovative technologies that will enhance the reach and efficacy of healthcare marketing for life sciences organizations.”

4. Labcorp purchases Baystate Health (October 2023)

Labcorp announced it will acquire Baystate Health’s outreach laboratory business and selected other operating assets. Labcorp explained that the acquisition will leverage LabCorp’s clinical laboratory services, robust data, and digital tools with continued, convenient patient access through the extensive network of the Baystate Health patient service centers.

5. Accenture acquires ConcentricLife (October 2023)

Accenture acquired ConcentricLife, a leading healthcare marketing agency with expertise in helping life sciences marketers build an optimal brand experience at any stage of the health journey. Accenture reported that this acquisition of 270 agency experts will become part of Accenture Song, one of the world’s largest digital agencies.

6. Spectrum Science acquires CrowdPharm and HotIronHealth (November 2023)

Spectrum, an independent, integrated marketing, communications, and media firm, announced the acquisition of CrowdPharm, a full-service healthcare advertising company, and its partner consultancy, Hot Iron Health. Spectrum is using the acquisition to solidify its work in promotional engagement and advertising by leveraging CrowdPharm’s delivery model and Hot Iron Health’s strategic advisory services.

7. BPD purchases Revive (December 2023)

BPD, a data-driven health system marketing services company, has acquired Revive, a healthcare agency, from Interpublic Group. The firm reported that the combination forms a marketing and communications tech-enabled services organization serving the nation’s leading hospital, health system, and care delivery brands and clients from the health tech, health services, and overall healthcare space. Together the firms will offer powerful integrated solutions to help clients solve their greatest business, marketing, and communications challenges.