J. Knipper is under new ownership

Leading pharma sampling-services company ‘recapitalizes’ with acquisition by Court Square Capital


After 33 years as a family business, J. Knipper and Co. has new ownership: Court Square Capital Partners, a mid-market private-equity firm. The Knipper family will retain a minority ownership; no purchase price was disclosed. Existing leadership—Michael LaFerrera, now as CEO, and Frank McNicholas as COO/CFO, will be retained.

In the global life sciences industry, this transaction is not transformative: the company employs around 600, and has operations in four US locations. However, it is arguably the leading provider of outsourced pharma-sampling services, including e-sampling and fulfillment, managing sample accountability with field audits, and print and direct-mail services, exclusively for life sciences. More recently, it opened a specialty pharmacy, KnipperRx, co-located with its Charlestown, IN, distribution center.

Pharma sampling, it’s worth pointing out, remains a bedrock function of pharma sales and marketing; the value of pharma samples is in the range of $15 billion annually.

“Today marks a new chapter in the Company’s dedication to being the nation’s most complete provider of integrated therapeutic services and solutions across the spectrum of patient care – from initiation to continuation of therapy – for manufacturers, patients, providers and payers,” commented Laferrera.

“From the Company’s humble beginning 33 years ago, our mission has been to deliver exceptional client service, improve patients’ lives, and to be a great place for our employees to work,” stated Jim Knipper. outgoing CEO. “In partnership with Court Square, J. Knipper and Company and KnippeRx are well-positioned to continue its mission and realize accelerated growth.”