Private Equity Firm Dilutes Merck Capital Ventures’ Stake In ImpactRx


Here’s the news — Merck Capital Ventures still owns a stake (now diluted by Symphony Technologies Group) in ImpactRx, a privately-held Mt. Laurel, NJ aggregator and analyzer of doctors’ prescription-writing patterns, per last night’s Modern Physician.com:

. . . .Private-equity firm Symphony Technology Group, Palo Alto, Calif., has acquired a majority interest in ImpactRx, a provider of systems to track the effects of pharmaceutical promotion on doctors’ prescribing behaviors, according to an ImpactRx news release. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.

ImpactRx will operate as an independent Symphony Technology portfolio company, according to the release, and Merck Capital Ventures, the venture-capital arm of Merck & Co., will maintain its investment in the Mount Laurel, N.J.-based company. Also, ImpactRx President and CEO Richard Altus will continue to lead the company. In March, ImpactRx named former Merck executive Mark Degatano senior vice president of the company’s client services operations. . . .

And here’s why it matters: “. . . .A large pharmaceutical company launching a new drug into a competitive therapeutic area needs to understand what factors most influence the highest prescribers of an existing competitor. That way, the company learns how to create more effective ways to get doctors to prescribe its new drug over the competition’s. They can do this using ImpactRx’s reports, which show in detail what most influences the highest prescribers and their script-writing behaviors. They also track competitors’ launches to gauge the success of their messaging and marketing strategy versus their own. They can then make rapid adjustments to improve their marketing and sales strategies.

Ultimately, the ImpactRx model makes for higher-quality information, which translates into better decisions about how to gain market share. . . .

To gather data from select doctors, ImpactRx equips the physicians with personal digital assistants (PDAs). The PDAs collect information and transmit it to ImpactRx for analysis. ImpactRx also uses SAS to monitor each doctor’s compliance with both PDA usage and data input so that ImpactRx knows the conclusions are valid. “We preserve patient privacy even as we examine what doctors prescribe, how patients respond to diagnoses and so on,” Stephens explains. “We also ask doctors about the effectiveness of the pharmaceutical sales reps, how those reps detail products, what they present and how knowledgeable they are. Then we take the data, package it, do high-level analytics and sell it to the pharmaceutical companies. . . .”
That’s drawn from a SAS marketing piece, on how SAS software helps ImpactRx provide insights — to its large cap pharmaceutical company customers. Draw your own conclusions.

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