Pharmacy2U Is Said to Hire Lazard to Raise Funds for Growth

  • U.K. online pharmacy to use funds for further expansion
  • Considerations at early stage, no decision made on round size

Pharmacy2U Ltd., the U.K.’s largest National Health Service-approved online pharmacy, is preparing a new funding round to expand operations, people with knowledge of the matter said.

Pharmacy2U has hired investment bank Lazard Ltd. to help find investors, said the people, who asked not to be identified because the deliberations are private.

No final decision has been made on the size of the funding round, potential investors or timing, the people said. Considerations are at a preliminary stage and the round may not take place until early next year, they said.

The online mail-order pharmacy offers home delivery of prescriptions, online doctor services and health and well-being retail products, according to its website. In 2016, it merged with rival ChemistDirect, which helped expand its customer base and online services.

Founded in 1999, Pharmacy2U’s current investors include U.K. investment firm Business Growth Fund Plc and Atomico, the London-based venture capital firm of Skype Technologies SA co-founder Niklas Zennstrom. Atomico had invested in ChemistDirect and became an indirect investor in Pharmacy2U following the merger.

Representatives for Leeds-based Pharmacy2U, Lazard, Atomico and Business Growth Fund declined to comment.

A new funding round will follow a 7 million-pound ($9.2 million) financing secured by Pharmacy2U from Business Growth Fund and other shareholders in May, according to information on its website.

In a June 29 report, the U.K.’s Care Quality Commission found Pharmacy2U’s online doctor services, though caring and responsive, weren’t as safe, effective or well-led as required by regulations. In 2015, Pharmacy2U was fined 130,000 pounds ($171,000) for selling details of more than 20,000 customer to marketing companies, according to the Information Commissioner’s Office, the U.K. government’s data protection watchdog.

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