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Vets First Choice buys two pharmacies to boost network

BY Lori Valigra

8/11/2017
Lori Valigra
Lori Valigra

Benjamin Shaw

CEO Benjamin Shaw and Direct Vet Marketing, doing business as Vets First Choice, made good on the promise to expand by acquisition on Thursday, announcing the acquisition of two pharmaceutical practices to boost its prescription management business.

After getting a $223 million public capital infusion in mid July, Direct Vet Marketing, doing business as Vets First Choice, made good on its promise to expand by acquisition on Thursday, announcing on its website that it had bought two pharmaceutical practices to boost its prescription management business.
“We are a logical home for a lot of younger companies that aren't trying to replicate what we've built," Benjamin Shaw, founder and CEO of the Portland veterinary products fulfillment company, told Mainebiz just after the huge investment. "We are continuing to be aggressive in business opportunities." That includes in Europe, Asia and the United States.
The company services 14,000 U.S. veterinary practices for prescription management and 6,000 others who want its information software and data services.
The company’s website said the purchase of Roadrunner Pharmacy and Atlas Pharmaceuticals, both of Arizona, are part of a global initiative for it to professionalize prescription management services for veterinary practices. The prices of the acquisitions were not revealed.
Roadrunner Pharmacy is a specialty compounding pharmacy licensed in 50 states and employing more than 250 pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and service professionals.
Atlas Pharmaceuticals, a new U.S. Food and Drug Administration 503B outsourcing pharmacy, offers sterile and non-sterile drugs for in-office use under FDA current good manufacturing processes that also apply to human drug manufacturers.
Shaw, who was a Mainebiz Next 2015 award winner, said in a written statement that the specialty pharmacy services will add to the company’s existing prescription management system for veterinarians and patients. Veterinarians and pet owners can order medicines, prescription foods and other items via the Vets First Choice website, though veterinarians have a portal through which pet owners can buy prescription items from the company’s website.The company has 16 distribution centers nationwide.
Using big data tools, Vets First Choice can send reminders to renew medicines or special foods to either vets or pet owners.
Vets First Choice had 400 employees at the end of 2016, and aims to have 800 by the end of this year, Shaw said, not specifying how many of those will be located in Maine. He recently hired a human resources director and a new recruiter, as about 50 positions are still open.
Revenue was $60.9 million in 2015, the last time the privately held company released numbers. Shaw told Mainebiz that revenue grew substantially from 2015 to 2016, but would not reveal the exact number. He expects to double revenue from 2016 to 2017.