Bridges establishes “the Hub pharmacy”, a new community pharmacy group
- The group will initially consist of nine pharmacies in the North-West of England
- It will focus on broadening access to healthcare services, especially in under-served areas
- This is the seventh investment from Bridges’ third sustainable growth fund
The Bridges Sustainable Growth Fund III, managed by specialist sustainable and impact investor Bridges Ventures (“Bridges”), announces the creation of ‘the Hub pharmacy’, a new community pharmacy platform intended to broaden access to much-needed pharmacy and healthcare services.
To create the Hub pharmacy, Bridges has acquired Medicx Pharmacy Group (“Medicx Pharmacy”), along with nine of its pharmacies in the North of England. This establishes a strong platform for a focused ‘buy-and-build’ growth strategy in the region, with a number of other acquisitions already under consideration.
Founded in 2007, Medicx Pharmacy has developed an award-winning reputation for innovation, with a focus on technology-enabled, healthcare service-led pharmacies. Bridges is backing the existing Medicx Pharmacy management team, comprising Steve Jeffers (CEO), Andrew Butterworth (CFO) and Chris Ball (Development Director), who have all invested in the new business and will drive its further development and operations.
In the UK, the ageing population and the rise in chronic illness is driving increasing demand for medicines and associated healthcare services, which is placing ever-greater pressure on primary care provision within the National Health Service. This is creating an imperative to free up capacity by focusing on preventative rather than curative treatments, and by delivering some of these services via pharmacies instead of through GPs and A&E units.
Bridges’ investment will allow the nine newly-acquired pharmacies to be re-fitted to provide a number of additional services, such as help with smoking cessation, weight-loss and minor ailments. In addition, they can improve patient adherence to dosage regimes, helping to reduce costly drug wastage. Since the majority of the Hub pharmacy sites are located in under-served areas, they will also broaden access to medicines and healthcare services for people who typically suffer from inferior health outcomes.
The pharmacy sector is currently showing clear signs of consolidation, as larger groups take advantage of their greater buying power, better technology and ability to roll out additional services. This compelling commercial opportunity, coupled with the potential societal impact, made the Hub pharmacy an ideal investment opportunity for Bridges.
Partner Oliver Wyncoll is leading the investment on behalf of Bridges; he has many years of experience backing high-growth businesses, most recently leading the firm’s investment in 9bar manufacturer Wholebake. He will join the board of the Hub pharmacy, as will James Hurrell, an Investment Manager at Bridges.
Paul Forster-Jones has also joined the board as investing Non-Executive Chairman. He brings a wealth of highly relevant healthcare experience from his time at The Co-op Pharmacy, Alliance Boots, AAH and The Body Shop.
Steve Jeffers, CEO of the Hub pharmacy, said:
“We are excited by the opportunity to work with the Bridges team, who we specifically selected because of their impact-driven approach. With them we are confident that we can fulfil the potential that we see in our business and make a real difference in healthcare provision to the communities we serve.”
Oliver Wyncoll, Partner, Bridges Sustainable Growth Funds, said:
“We have been impressed with the innovation and clear focus on providing additional healthcare services that Steve and his team have demonstrated, as well as their continued passion to grow the business. We strongly believe that by building out the Hub, we can play a role in reducing the burden on primary care provision and broadening access to key services.”
This is the seventh investment from Bridges’ third Sustainable Growth Fund, which closed on £125m in 2013. The fund provides growth capital to ambitious businesses that seek to generate both strong commercial returns and measurable societal impact. It typically focuses on companies in the health & well-being, education & skills, and environmental sectors, as well as consumer champion businesses building economic dynamism in underserved markets.
NOTES TO EDITORS
the Hub pharmacy
- the Hub pharmacies will be at the centre of the local community they serve, sharing their facilities with community organisations and reaching out to local healthcare and community groups to promote healthy living services.
- the Hub pharmacy provides a wide variety of innovative and integrated pharmacy services from purpose-designed modern premises with multiple consultation rooms, utilising the latest technology.
- Many of the pharmacies operate over extended hours providing late-night opening throughout the week, including on Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays. The Hub pharmacy works with NHS commissioners and local communities to provide a wide range of health care services
Bridges Ventures LLP (“Bridges”) is a specialist fund manager that uses an impact-driven investment approach to create superior returns for both investors and society at large. Bridges has raised more than £500m across its fund platform. Its Sustainable Growth Fund III, which closed on £125m in 2013, provides growth capital to ambitious businesses that seek to generate both strong commercial returns and measurable societal impact.
Advisers to Bridges Ventures
Legal: Addleshaw Goddard (Mike Hinchliffe and Marc Field)
Financial: PwC (Christine Adshead and Graeme Hurst)
Commercial: Parthenon (Paul Ahern and Matthew Webster)
Advisers to the Hub pharmacy
Financial: Hollis Gore (Patrick Gore)
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