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Physicians Interactive CEO Looks for Acquisitions

Stocks in this article: MRK MDRX

NEW YORK (The Deal) -- As doctors increasingly try to reduce their costs, leading to interest in healthcare information companies, Physicians Interactive, backed by the venture capital arm of Merck  (MRK) has plans to pursue acquisitions to expand its geographic reach and its product offerings with an eye towards completing a deal by the end of this year, according to the CEO and founder.

"The acquisition strategy right now is two-fold," said Donato Tramuto, the CEO of Physicians Interactive, a technology company linking physicians, patients and pharmaceutical companies through mobile and online healthcare applications, by phone. "We want to continue to expand the physician database domestically but I also want to go global. We also want to figure out and smoke out more of these small startup companies that have great innovation but may not have the scale to gain the users they want."

Based in Reading, Mass., with offices in Libertyville Ill., Mumbai, Paris and San Francisco, Physicians Interactive said June 25 that it had acquired MedHelp, an online health community and health application site, for undisclosed terms. Following the acquisition, Physicians Interactive's employee base will increase to 400 or so from about 300 people now across its various offices.

"MedHelp really boosts our exposure to customers and gives us a platform to grow the consumer-facing business," Tramuto said, adding that the company will look to integrate its physician- and consumer-facing units by the end of the year.

Physicians Interactive traces its beginnings back to 2008 when Tramuto, along with the backing of Bethesda, Md.-based private equity firm Persues LLC, bought the company from Allscripts Healthcare Solutions (MDRX). After years of growth, Perseus sold its share of Physicians Interactive to Merck Global Health Innovation Fund last August.

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