UDG Healthcare has expanded its position in the pharma communications industry with the $144m (€105m) acquisition of KnowledgePoint360.
Headquartered in Macclesfield, UK, and New Jersey, US, KnowledgePoint360 is a healthcare communications business which offers pharma companies services that include publication planning, strategic consultancy, thought leader engagement, material creation, congress and meeting content and digital strategies.
The acquisition - set to close in the next couple of weeks - will be integrated into UDG’s Ashfield division and, according to Ashfield’s Global Marketing Manager Gareth Davies, the combined services will establish Ashfield as one of the leading global healthcare communications providers.
“We are delighted with the prospect of acquiring KnowledgePoint360, it is a highly successful and well established business that complements Ashfield’s current capabilities,” he told Outsourcing-Pharma.com. “KnowledgePoint360 will sit within the Ashfield Division and this acquisition continues our journey towards becoming a market leader in all of the markets in which we operate.”
Big Pharma Demand
Healthcare communication providers offer services which include publication planning, strategic consultancy, thought leader engagement, material creation, congress and meeting content and digital strategies, and as well as small firms trying to launch new drugs, demand is coming increasingly from large pharma, he added.
“Five to ten years ago,” he continued, “many companies would have done this in-house, but with [Big Pharma] restructuring there are more and more opportunities for outsourcing firms in new product development.”
There are also opportunities as companies move away from traditional disease areas and move towards specialist areas. “Pharma is recruiting its own talents [in these areas] but is also recruiting third parties” for areas such as communications, he added.
Ashfield will acquire KnowledgePoint360’s Healthcare Communications Network (HCN) – providing services similar to Ashfield albeit building the network with 600 new employees across ten locations – and a ‘Speakers Bureau’ business delivering educational and promotional speaker meetings.
UDG has made sixteen acquisitions in fourteen years – six within the last two, and recently restructured its business to include sales, marketing and medical services all under the Ashfield division.
“The Ashfield division has had great success with the previous acquisitions of InforMed and Watermeadow and the acquisition of KnowledgePoint360 adds scale, additional capabilities and clients to Ashfield’s existing footprint,” Davies said.