A YORKSHIRE-based online pharmacy has received an investment package to support the rapid growth of its home delivery repeat prescriptions service for NHS patients.
Pharmacy2u.co.uk has secured £7m investment from the Business Growth Fund and other shareholders to help boost its marketing strategy.
The funding package comes after the business secured an initial £10m growth capital investment from BGF last year, to support the merger between Pharmacy2u.co.uk and ChemistDirect.co.uk.
The deal created an online pharmacy business with the UK’s largest customer base. The new funding will enable the company to accelerate its marketing strategy and deliver long-term growth across the business.
Based in Leeds, Pharmacy2U has established a hub which is capable of dispensing up to 700,000 prescription items a month.
Pharmacy2U offers a home delivery repeat prescription service for NHS patients, including clinical advice and help with medication management from qualified pharmacists.
The management team, which is led by chief executive Mark Livingstone, Gary Dannatt, the chief financial officer, and Daniel Lee the chief operating officer, has integrated the two businesses.
A spokesman said: “With the continued push by the Department of Health to drive cost efficiencies throughout the pharmacy sector, Pharmacy2U’s model provides a scalable, cost-efficient model and is well placed to capitalise on the positive market dynamics.”
The spokesman said that a newly re-designed website and a multi-channel marketing plan, including TV, press, radio and online advertising, had doubled new patient registrations in the last six months, with monthly prescription volumes more than doubling over the last year.
Mr Livingstone said: “With BGF’s initial investment we were able to successfully merge two of the UK’s leading online pharmacists. BGF has provided us with counsel throughout the year and we are delighted to have secured further investment from them and other shareholders. We look forward to implementing our growth strategy and pioneering the most cost effective digital pharmacy service we can.”
Richard Taylor of BGF said: “We continue to be excited by the online pharmacy sector and in Pharmacy2u.co.uk we are backing the leading provider and strongest management team with a clear strategy for further growth.
“This deal is another example of BGF’s ability to follow our initial investments in the companies we back, and we are delighted to be providing continued support to the business.”
The investment was led by BGF’s Richard Taylor, Rob Johnson and Chris Boyes. Pharmacy2u.co.uk was advised by Catherine Hemsworth at Pinsent Masons. Richard Hunt and Jonathan Ross from Squire Patton Boggs advised BGF.
BGF provides growth capital to small and mid-sized businesses. The companies it backs are privately-owned or listed on AIM (the Alternative Investment Market), and typically have revenues of between £5m and £100m.
BGF makes initial investments of between £2m to £10m and can provide extra funding to support further growth. The investment provided is typically in the form of equity in return for a minority equity stake.
Established in 1999, Leeds-based Pharmacy2u.co.uk was the UK’s first online pharmacy. It played a major role in the development of the NHS Electronic Prescription Service and helped the NHS develop the pilot programme in 2001.
It is now the largest NHS contracted online pharmacy.
Pharmacy2u.co.uk provides NHS repeat prescriptions and online doctor services. It is regulated by the General Pharmaceutical Council, and the online doctor service is also regulated by the Care Quality Commission.