A 27-year old cosmetic clinic entrepreneur is aiming to ‘transplant’ the US business model of dermatology clinic consolidation to Australia.
Chantelle Pior, Founder, Director & Head of Acquisitions at Aura Medical Group says she is on a mission to “create a national ecosystem of excellence within the dermatology and cosmetic medicine industry” in Australia.
The former personal trainer says there is a potential $7.8 billion market in medical aesthetic clinics in Australia and her company aims to become the leading provider of doctor-led skin clinics in the country.
According to the company’s website, AMG already has three skin clinics in Brisbane and has just acquired its first clinic in Adelaide, offering a range of non-invasive treatments including anti-wrinkle injections, dermal fillers, and non-surgical brow lifts.
She told the InDaily outlet that she already has $20 million investment backing to further expand towards a national network of clinics.
“The US and UK are already experiencing this kind of growth which is why consolidation in the cosmetic medical, dermatology and other associated industries is taking off so successfully,” she said.
“We identify clinics owned by doctors who are starting to think about long-term succession planning or how to grow their business, but they don’t have the time or resources to bring it to fruition,” she added.
According to Aura’s website, the group is now reaching out to the owners of dermatology clinics to discuss partnership agreements that will see Aura take care of the business side “so [doctors] can focus on what they do best – creating exceptional results for their patients.”
Under the consolidation model dermatology clinics are integrated into the Aura Medical Group network, which takes responsibility for administrative burdens, marketing and business growth.
“As part of our partnership, we will provide ongoing support in areas of marketing, human resources, administration, payroll finance, clinical development, procurement and product services,” it says.
“We build synergies through bulk buying, better deals on procurement, cross referrals, in-house marketing, accounting and HR services, as well as data insights gained from nationwide consumer information.”
A recent study in JAMA highlighted the trend in the US for the takeover of medical dermatology clinics by private equity companies.
It showed that between 2012 and 2018 seventeen private equity firms acquired 184 practices that comprised an estimated 381 dermatology clinics.
This was likely an underestimate of private equity control of dermatology because many opened new clinics.
In some states, more than a third of dermatology practices were owned by private equity rather than physicians, the study authors noted.
A more recent article published on Medium warned that consolidation of the once fractured dermatology sector in the US created risks of substandard care driven by the financial priorities of private equity owners.
The article warned that patient care was often delegated from dermatologists to nurses and to assistants, and that business strategies put a priority on unnecessary procedures and therapies.
“You can’t serve two masters. You can’t serve patients and investors,” said one doctor who had previously worked at at U.S. Dermatology Partners, a big private-equity chain.