One of Portland’s fastest-growing companies, Apothecary by Design, has been purchased by an $80 billion health care company.

CVS Health purchased the Portland pharmacy, which focuses on treatments for chronic diseases, on Sunday from BelHealth, a private equity firm, a CVS spokeswoman said. Terms of the sale were not disclosed.

CVS said it plans to retain the 38 employees who work at Apothecary by Design’s Preble Street location and won’t be changing the name of the company. It will operate under the CVS Specialty division, which is part of CVS Health.

BelHealth, based in New York, purchases companies in the health sector. It typically adds management teams to the companies to boost their financial health and then resells the companies. Its current holdings include a health care staffing firm and a home health care provider.

BelHealth bought a controlling interest in Apothecary by Design in September 2015. It then sold the company’s retail pharmacy, which is located at 84 Marginal Way, nearly two years ago to a partnership that included two employees. The retail pharmacy was rebranded as Coastal Pharmacy & Wellness. That allowed Apothecary by Design to focus on specialty medications and its compounding business at its Preble Street location.

In May 2016, it bought Healy Pharmacy in Chicago, which is also a specialty pharmacy. Healy was known for its strength in oncology medications.

A little more than a year ago, Apothecary by Design announced a partnership with the University of New England to create a residency training program in specialty pharmacy. Neither UNE nor CVS could say immediately whether the purchase affects that program.

The sale to CVS did not include Village Fertility Pharmacy, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based fertility business that was part of Apothecary by Design but is being retained by BelHealth. Apothecary by Design purchased that specialty pharmacy in October 2016.

Apothecary by Design was founded in 2008 and has grown rapidly. Last year, it was No. 854 on Inc. magazine’s list of the 5,000 fastest-growing private companies and was the fourth-fastest-growing specialty pharmacy on the list.

It reported sales of about $116 million in 2015, up from $3.6 million in 2009, but as a privately held company, does not have to report financial information each year.

As a specialty pharmacy, Apothecary by Design focuses on medications for chronic illnesses, such as hepatitis C, HIV and rheumatoid arthritis. CVS spokeswoman Amy Lanctot said the company may expand the services available at the Apothecary by Design location to include care coordination, patient education and adherence management. Those services are available at most CVS Specialty locations, she said.

Specialty pharmacies typically offer drugs for specific illnesses that are often more expensive and sometimes require special storage conditions or special ways of administering the medication, such as injections.

BelHealth confirmed the sale late Monday afternoon and said that former Apothecary by Design Chief Executive Officer Ben McElhiney would remain with Village Fertility Pharmacy, with the headquarters relocating to Waltham.

Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

[email protected]

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