Cynthia LaConte

Cynthia LaConte turned drug wholesaler The Dohmen Company into a multiple-service provider to health care industries and companies.
Cynthia LaConte


Founded: 1858
Headquarters: Milwaukee
Revenues: Not disclosed
Employees: 750
What it does: Provides services to life science companies and to self-insuring businesses

German immigrant Frederich Dohmen started what is now the Dohmen Company as an apothecary in Milwaukee in 1858. A century and a half later, fifth-generation family member Cynthia LaConte has reformulated the company into a multisubsidiary service provider for life science companies.

LaConte became CEO of the family firm in 2009, after starting DDN, a Dohmen subsidiary that provides logistics services and outsourcing consulting to life sciences companies, and working as Dohmen’s chief operating officer. Her promotion, she says, “came at a time when Dohmen’s future was quite uncertain.” The company became a pharmaceutical wholesaler in the 1950s, but sold that business to Cardinal Health in 2006. “Distribution had been the roots of our business for more than 100 years,” LaConte says. “Now we really had a blank slate.”

In creating a “new” Dohmen, LaConte and her management team saw an opportunity to reinvent it as a new kind of health care services firm. Essentially, Dohmen comprises two types of businesses. One offers services to companies that fund their own health plans. The other provides a variety of services to life sciences companies.

Using DDN and Restat, a Doh-men business unit that manages prescription benefits for companies that fund their own health insurance plans, “as cornerstones to build around,” LaConte began driving an acquisition strategy that broadened Dohmen’s capabilities.

Last year, Dohmen bought three firms. One was PlanIT, which helps self-funding firms track costs and trends, providing intervention strategies to help keep costs down. Another was MedComm Solutions, which provides two services, medical call centers and product safety case management. The third: Centric Health Resources, which provides coaching and other management help for patients with rare diseases. This year, Dohmen purchased BioSoteria, which provides regulatory compliance services for life science companies that are ready to bring a product to market.

In addition to these business units, Dohmen also has its Benefits Allies division, which helps contain costs for midsize employers that self-fund employee benefits. The Dohmen Life Science division provides outsourced services to biotech, pharmaceutical, and medical device companies, particularly startups that need services but can’t afford additional overhead.

“We don’t buy a company for scale or mass efficiency,” LaConte says. “It’s to bring knowledge into the house.”

The company plans to provide services to new market segments, including medical device manufacturers, by expanding its offerings around compliance, safety, and FDA submissions. “We want to offer global solutions, especially for rare diseases,” LaConte says. “We want to be able to provide an increasingly holistic solution to life sciences companies [that] want to get products to the right place at the right time and really connect with the patients they serve.”