• Connell Consulting to offer Pharma and Veterinary consulting services.
  • Gonçalo Silva appointed Chief Executive of Pharma and European Healthcare.
  • Chairman Paul Birley driving Connell Consulting’s transition into a larger firm.
  • Dr Rose Cuthbertson to run deals in the Veterinary market.

Commercial due diligence advisor Connell Consulting has merged with Gonçalo Silva and his team from Eccleston Associates. It also appointed Barclays’ former Head of Healthcare, Paul Birley, to assist with the growth of the business into a much larger consulting firm and expansion into new markets. Chief Executive Clare Connell speaks exclusively to HealthInvestor UK.

Following the new appointments, the consultancy will expand into the pharma and biotech market for the first time, with Gonçalo as its Chief Executive of Pharma and European Healthcare. Connell will continue to run the health, social care and special education business.

Connell describes the consultancy’s expansion as a “natural progression”.

She tells HealthInvestor UK: “We are delighted to be able to work on pharma, biotech and European healthcare transactions. We’ve always wanted to expand into these markets, but we lacked the deep sector experience and capacity that we have now.

“During the past decade, we’ve turned down many projects in the pharma, biotech, medical equipment and European transactions, to focus on UK health and social care projects. We’ve been turning down three to five projects a week due to a lack of sector expertise to deliver these projects. There is a large volume of pharma deals in the market and Gonçalo’s wealth of pharma, life sciences and European healthcare experience will help us grow to the next level.

“I worked with Gonçalo at Candesic for many years,” Connell continues. “After he moved to the UK four years ago, built up his team and managed a number of large pharma transactions for his previous firm, we realised it was a perfect time for him to join us. We have the same plans, and our teams have a very similar culture and good work ethic.”

For the past 20 years, Gonçalo has delivered strategy, commercial due diligence, transformation, and post-merger integration projects across Europe both for private equity funds, including Cinven, Permira, General Atlantic and Terra Firma and internally at leading multinationals, such as Pfizer, Lonza, Sartorius and Recipharm.

Gonçalo tells HealthInvestor UK that he has already started working on the first pharma transactions. Commenting on his appointment, he adds: “This is a new chapter to my life. It is a challenge. It is a very interesting objective to take Connell Consulting to the next level. Knowing the market very well, I think we are in a fantastic position to do so.”

Gonçalo is bringing his entire team of 12 advisors to Connell Consulting – with expertise in pharma, life sciences and vets. He and his team collaborated with Mansfield Advisors on pharma transactions and are driving multiple strategy, transformation and integration/ buy-and-build projects across the industry.

He adds: “The advantage of this particular team is that their accumulated know-how is differential. We can be a major player in the life science market. We have a very strong combination of backgrounds that is really difficult to find in the market. The team has deep knowledge in both small molecules and biologics/biosimilar, originators and generics, with several MBAs and PhDs in the field.”

Clare concurs: “At Connell Consulting we have deep sector knowledge and Gonçalo has that equal sector knowledge and consulting experience, not just in the UK but across Europe. This helps us to focus on our market and also to leverage the branding and credibility that we’ve built over the past decade.”

In addition to pharma, Connell Consulting is keen to do more deals in the veterinary market and is therefore joined by Dr Rose Cuthbertson, on Gonçalo’s team, who is a qualified vet with experience on due diligence reports in the veterinary market.

Connell Consulting also announced the appointment of Paul Birley, former head of healthcare at Barclays, as its new chairman to help drive the consultancy’s transition into a much larger consulting firm.

“Paul brings a vast amount of experience and knowledge to the role. At Barclays, Paul was always very supportive of the business and is the only chairman we considered for Connell Consulting. Birley is a very well-known and popular figure within the sector who knows many of our clients,” Clare adds.

Paul tells HealthInvestor UK: “I’ve known Clare for many years, from my time at Barclays, and know her to be one of the best consultants in this space. The opportunity to work with Clare is an opportunity I could not turn down. 2022 is a really exciting year for Connell Consulting and I am really looking forward to working with Clare and her team on Connell Consulting’s growth. We will continue to grow and, now with the inclusion of Gonçalo’s team, we have more opportunities to expand.”

With the new hires, the group almost doubles the number of staff on their team and is actively recruiting for analysts and consultants to join both the healthcare and pharma teams. The Connell Consulting team can offer unrivalled deep sector expertise as key managers in the team have been working for Connell Consulting for almost a decade, working on several hundred health and social care transactions.

She anticipates more pan-European work and has boosted the group’s language coverage to work on European deals.

Over the past year, the Connell Consulting team has worked on transactions worth more than £7 billion, including 12 vendor commercial due diligence reports, more than any other consultancy in this sector. The team produced vendor commercial due diligence on the sale of several specialist care providers including Exemplar, Consensus, Sequence, Ludlow Street Healthcare, the Scope portfolio, Leonard Cheshire services, Pathways, the RNID portfolio, Routes Healthcare, and, as previously reported by Healthinvestor UK, Voyage Care.

Recent investor commercial due diligence projects include specialist care providers Regard, CMG, Fieldbay and Heathcotes and elderly care providers Brighterkind and Berkley Care Group.

Connell Consulting won the HealthInvestor Award in 2020 for “Consultancy of the Year-Transactional”. Connell has been a member of HealthInvestor’s Power 50 for the past four years. In 2018 and 2019 she was voted sector specialist.