In recent years, the UK's medical communications sector has seen remarkable growth, catching the eye of mid-market private equity funds.
This has resulted in a number of private equity backed operators in the market, but why is the sector growing so quickly?
Fundamentally, this is due to increased spending on outsourced comms by life sciences companies, which is driven by several key factors:
Advances in medical science and technology: breakthroughs in medical research and technology have led to an explosion of complex information. Effective communication is crucial to ensure that this knowledge is disseminated accurately and comprehensibly to healthcare professionals, patients, and stakeholders.
Specialised expertise and knowledge: medical communications require a unique skill set that combines scientific understanding with communication proficiency. Outsourced agencies often have teams of professionals with diverse backgrounds in healthcare, science, and communication, providing a level of expertise that may be challenging to replicate in-house.
Digital transformation: outsourced agencies are typically at the forefront of adopting and integrating new technologies in their services. This includes the use of advanced digital platforms, interactive multimedia tools, and data analytics, which enhance the effectiveness of medical communication efforts.
Globalisation of healthcare: with healthcare being a global concern, effective communication is essential for knowledge exchange and collaboration across borders. Outsourced medical communication agencies often employ a global talent pool which can be particularly advantageous for projects requiring international perspective and market knowledge.
Looking to capitalise on these strong market drivers, private equity investors have been prolific in the sector in recent years. Deals have included Bioscript (Sovereign Capital), Cognite (Vespa Capital), Lucid Group (ICG), Sciris (Waterland), and Helios (Northedge).
Given the fragmented nature of the industry, there is also a significant opportunity to expand these platforms through bolt-on acquisitions. These strategic deals can focus on expanding geographical reach, expertise in specific areas of the market, or extension of consultancy services into complementary segments such as regulatory writing and market access.