Water Street Healthcare Partners announced today that it has acquired OraPharma, Inc. from Johnson & Johnson. Water Street, a strategic private equity firm focused exclusively on health care, plans to build OraPharma into a leading specialty pharmaceutical company focused on dental and oral health care. It is Water Street's latest agreement with a global health care company to acquire a business and expand its group of companies specializing in life sciences, medical devices, distribution and health care services.
OraPharma specializes in developing and distributing pharmaceutical products that maintain and restore oral health. Its main product, Arestin® (minocycline hydrochloride) is the leading locally administered antibiotic used by dentists for procedures that treat periodontitis. Affecting more than 50 million Americans, periodontitis is the primary cause of tooth loss in adults. OraPharma employs approximately 175 people who support thousands of dentists, hygienists, oral surgeons and periodonists across the country.
Water Street has recruited Janet Vergis, an executive with more than 20 years of pharmaceutical experience, to serve as chief executive officer of OraPharma. Through February 2009, Ms. Vergis served as president of Janssen Pharmaceutica -- which included responsibility for the McNeil Pediatrics and Ortho-McNeil Neurologics businesses -- a member of the Johnson & Johnson family of companies. Previously, Ms. Vergis held positions in pharmaceutical research, new product development, sales and marketing.
"Our goal is to build OraPharma into a leading pharmaceutical products company focused exclusively on dental and oral health. Janet's broad pharmaceutical experience, and strong track record of growing and operating businesses make her ideally suited for this role. We will work closely with Janet on a strategic growth plan that will invest in research and development and acquisition opportunities to expand OraPharma's portfolio of products and services to the dental health market," said Al Heller, an operating partner with Water Street and a longtime executive in the pharmaceutical industry.
OraPharma is the latest in a series of acquisitions that Water Street has completed with global health care companies. Nearly half of Water Street's investments are business divisions it has acquired from global leaders including Gentiva Health Services, Inc., Medtronic, Inc. and Smith & Nephew.
"We are pleased that Water Street's strong track record of working with global health care leaders to acquire business divisions and transform them into successful independent companies has led to this opportunity with OraPharma. Water Street will leverage our team's pharmaceutical expertise and experience in corporate divestitures to build OraPharma into a market leader well-positioned to achieve long-term sustainable growth," said Peter Strothman, a principal with Water Street.
Water Street Healthcare Partners