Patient Marketing Group, the Forrestal Village-based pharmaceutial marketing company, has been acquired by InVentiv Health Inc. of Somerset for $14.5 million in an all cash deal that was announced on July 31.

Founded in 1991, Patient Marketing Group has some 50 employees. It is headed by Lynn Benzing, a graduate of Loyola University (Class of 1990) who was recruited in 2002 to lead the company.

InVentiv spokesperson Marcia Fredrickson says that Patient Marketing Group is doing an excellent job of connecting with patients. InVentiv, she says, is planning no changes to its new acquisition’s business. Employees will remain in Forrestal Village, and Benzing will remain in charge, retaining the title of president and CEO.

Patient Marketing Group, which specializes in direct-to-patient educational marketing, is growing at a rate of 80 percent a year, says Benzing. She says that linking up with InVentiv, a $1 billion company, will open up “access to many more resources.”

“We’re thrilled to be able to tap the additional expertise,” says Benzing, who was profiled by U.S. 1 in its issue of September 20, 2006.

Patient Marketing Group produces what Benzing calls “tailored marketing.” People in a particular stage of living with a chronic condition typically sign up to receive information, which is delivered through an interactive website, a phone call, a consultation, a brochure, or a piece of targeted mail.

“We’re media neutral,” says Benzing. “We’re multi-channel. We do whatever it takes to build a successful and motivating relationship with patients. We’re successful because we offer choice. We allow folks to gravitate to their preference.”

This is opt-in marketing, where patients enroll to receive information, and it is a field that is growing at a time when traditional marketing campaigns are losing potency among a bombarded, TiVoing population. “We were ahead of our time,” says Benzing. While other pharmaceutical marketers are struggling to get their messages across via mass media, her company has found a way to get through to patients.

Also, says Benzing, whose father suffered a massive heart attack at age 47, when she was only 21, “we’re really helping people.”

Her company has had a number of suitors over the years. “Last spring our board decided that the time was right,” says Benzing, “and InVentiv was the best fit.”

Patient Marketing Group will be part of InVentiv’s Patient Outcomes division, created about a year ago to work with pharmaceutical companies, health-care providers, and pharmacists.

InVentiv is one of the largest U.S. health-care marketing agencies, employing about 420 in central Ohio and more than 6,000 nationwide. The company’s CEO is Blane Walter, son of Cardinal Health Inc. founder Robert Walter and the former CEO of Westerville-based InChord Communications Inc., which he sold to what was then Ventiv Health Inc. in 2005.

InVentiv (NASDAQ:VTIV) in 2007 recorded $47.5 million in profit on $977.3 million in revenue.

The acquisition is a reason for celebration at the Patient Marketing Group, says Benzing. But it also means lots more work for everyone — and lots more meetings for her. There will be no time for a big celebration just yet, but Benzing says that she and her staff toasted their new partner at Salt Creek Grille last Friday.

Patient Marketing Group Inc., 155 Village Boulevard, Suite 200, Princeton 08540; 609-779-6200; fax, 609-779-6201. Lynn Benzing, president. Home page: www.patientmarketing.com.

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