Private equity builds a commercialization services powerhouse

Dohmen Life Sciences Services is joined to a trio of recent acquisitions


Water Street Healthcare Partners, together with another private-equity firm, JLL Partners, has acquired Dohmen Life Sciences Services (DLSS) for an undisclosed sum, in a deal expected to close next month. According to Water Street, DLSS will be merged into a “commercialization services platform” formed in December when three firms were brought together: Alliance Life Sciences, Health Strategies Group, and the Access Group.

Water Street touts the mashup as “the leading independent provider of commercialization services to life sciences companies,” serving “more than 300 of the industry’s top pharmaceutical, biotech and medical device companies with a portfolio of solutions designed to simplify commercialization, optimize market access and build share for new and existing therapies.” Water Street brought in Jim Lang, former CEO of Decision Resource Group, as executive chairman of the organization. “Adding DLSS to our life sciences platform is a game changer. Its client-focused culture and service capabilities are a strong strategic fit with our companies,” he said, in a statement.

DLSS itself is an amalgamation of a variety of acquisitions, mostly over the 2010-2015 period. Dohmen, which had been a major regional wholesaler in the Midwest, sold its wholesaling operations to Cardinal Health in 2006 and retained a fast-growing 3PL service based in Memphis. To this, CEO Cynthia LaConte added a specialty pharmacy, medical call center, medical products distribution, clinical services and a marketing communications agency specializing in rare diseases to form DLSS. DLSS has been offering comprehensive hub services for the better part of a decade, especially in rare diseases. Alliance Life Sciences and Health Strategies have roughly comparable offerings in market research, data and analytics around product commercialization. Access Group is a healthcare communications agency.

Water Street says that it has $3 billion to invest in life sciences and service businesses, so this might not be the last acquisition.