More private equity flows into patient support services

TrialCard and Careform get new owners


Patient support services (aka hub providers) continues to experience the growth generated by high-touch (and, usually, high-cost) specialty pharmaceuticals, and the pharma industry’s demand for outsourcing these services. In early November, RxCrossroads’ ownership transferred from CVS Health to McKesson; now two other providers, Careform and TrialCard have been acquired.

In Trialcard’s case, the acquisition seems to be a matter of one private-equity firm, Excellere, exiting, and another, Odyssey Investment Partners, entering, along with the TrialCard management group. TrialCard (Morrisville, NC), best known for its copay coupon and voucher programs, has two other business units: Market Access (TrialCard’s hub services division), and Virtual Engagement (outbound tele-promotion and healthcare professional lead generation solutions).

“TrialCard is a well-positioned business in a dynamic industry, led by a deep and experienced leadership team,” said Jeff McKibben, a managing principal at Odyssey. “Our investment represents a compelling opportunity to execute a multi-faceted growth strategy in an attractive market. We look forward to partnering with Mark Bouck [TrialCard CEO] and his team to continue building a highly valuable provider of outsourced services to pharmaceutical companies.”

Careform, based in Pittsburgh, has been acquired by another hub services provider, ConnectivRx, which is owned by the private equity firm Genstar. ConnectiveRx itself was formed from the combination of PSKW, a copay provider, and PDR, publishers of the Physicians Desk Reference and other marketing-support services. Careform has a proprietary IT platform, called BrandHub, for integrating hub services; ConnectiveRx organizes its support services around product launch, patient access, adherence programs and overall analytics.

“The ConnectiveRx mission is to simplify how people get and stay on medications. The opportunity exists to remove barriers that make it difficult for patients to quickly get on therapy for complex specialty drugs,” said Harry Totonis, CEO of ConnectiveRx. “Careform will enhance and broaden our existing solutions for our biopharmaceutical customers with specialty medications.”

These and other hub services providers offer to integrate manufacturer interactions along the patient journey, starting with completing prior-authorization requirements, reimbursement support, speed to therapy and maintaining an adherent prescribing regimen. As insurance providers get stricter and stricter about prior authorizations, and as the concept of value-based contracting (which makes the pharma manufacturer’s reimbursement tied to the outcome of the patient care) grows, patient support is becoming a more critical part of pharma commercialization.