J. Knipper acquires sample-management assets of inVentiv; calls itself the 'undisputed' leader in sample fulfillment

Inventiv Health Selling Solutions will partner with Knipper on sample services

There are some signs that the sample-distribution business in the US pharma industry is shrinking. But the bigger picture is that it is becoming more multi-dimensional and more regulation-driven, according to Mike LaFerrera, president of J. Knipper (Lakewood, NJ). And therefore the acquisition of most of the assets of the inVentiv Health MySTRO sample-management business will enable it to cover more of these dimensions, and provide “services that individual pharma companies would be hard-pressed to develop on their own,” he says.

The sale will bring sample-fulfillment and warehousing operations (in Totowa, NJ), along with some staff, to Knipper, which will also take over the online MySTRO sample-ordering system that inVentiv had owned. MySTRO will eventually be absorbed into Knipper's online systems, including MySampleCloset. A call center for telesales and tele-detailing will remain with inVentiv, which also has a contract-sales organization, inVentiv Health Selling Solutions. Going forward, sample management services and tele-detailing services will be co-marketed by Knipper and by inVentiv.

In a statement, Paul Mignon, president of inVentiv Health Selling Solutions, said: "J. Knipper and Company’s greater scale in the areas of sample accountability and fulfillment will enhance the services provided to inVentiv Health customers. And similarly, inVentiv Health‘s best-in-class tele-detailing capabilities — including our state-of-the-art call center, which is staffed by professional, fully trained and dedicated agents – will provide support and value to J. Knipper and Company’s clients. We look forward to continuing to collaborate with the J. Knipper and Company team on delivering customer-focused solutions with real results."

Sample distribution to physicians remains a core aspect of all pharma selling, especially for new product launches. But the business is changing as the number of “no see” doctors increases, and as more interactions occur online through web portals and links to e-prescribing or electronic health-records systems. Aggregate-spend programs include accounting for the value of samples left with physicians in some cases, and patient-assistance programs are undergoing their own evolution with the advent of the Affordable Care Act. LaFerrera notes that while Knipper does not offer its own copay or coupon programs—another element of pharma’s marketing portfolio—its sample-kitting business accommodates those services as well.