SAN FRANCISCO and AKRON, Ohio—Alpine Investors, a middle market private equity firm, is investing in the Ohio-based eyecare practice, Northeast Ohio Eye Surgeons Inc. (NEOES), including its subsidiary business, Ohio Eye Care Consultants (OECC). An official announcement of the transaction is expected today (June 27). The two eyecare firms will together form a new ophthalmology platform for Alpine, and will continue to operate independently under their respective brands. The terms of the private transaction are not being disclosed. “The ophthalmology sector is a dynamic and growing area of health care with an estimated market size of $36 billion in the U.S. and growing 4 percent to 5 percent annually,” Alpine vice president of investing Haley Beck said.

“These two businesses have established themselves as leaders in the field. We are excited to provide the financial and operational resources and apply our people-focused philosophy to further grow these thriving businesses."

Beck told VMAIL in an interview that Alpine focuses its investments on software and services, including health-care services. “And, our focus is really on helping to grow exceptional, purpose-driven companies,” she said.

Beck also noted that Alpine continues to find “great opportunities in dental and dermatology in certain regions and areas.” She added, “So, we continue to be very excited about those areas but we definitely see the market [opportunity] in eye care. We are excited that it is a great fit with the Alpine model and that we have been able to partner with some exceptional doctors and exceptional practices to help lead some of the consolidation in the Midwest region.”

NEOES is a leading ophthalmology practice in northeast Ohio that provides medical and surgical eye services with five offices throughout the northeast region of the state. OECC specializes in surgery for glaucoma, cataract, and other ocular conditions, with locations in the Medina and Wadsworth areas in Ohio.

“We are thrilled to be partnering with Alpine,” NEOES’ Larry Lohman, MD, FACS, said. “We believe that our emphasis on patients and dedication to our employees align perfectly with Alpine’s people-driven approach to investing and operations. This is the start of a very exciting future for our practice.”

Alpine chief executive officer-in-Residence, Joseph Giles, is expected to lead Alpine's new ophthalmology platform, which will include NEOES and OECC. Giles comes with a wealth of experience in the health care services industry, recently serving as the president and chief operating officer of Athletico, the third-largest physical therapy company in the U.S.

The investment and Alpine’s distinct “PeopleFirst” approach are expected to help NEOES and OECC scale their vertically integrated models, while continuing to grow the platform and leading with clinical excellence. Alpine's investment also is intended to help support future partnerships with similarly patient-centric ophthalmology practices that prioritize a high level of focus on clinical care, according to the principals in the current transaction.