Vic Simianu, Founder and CEO, Sphinx Strategies
Vic Simianu, Founder and CEOThe world of specialty pharmacy is a complex paradigm. On the one hand, specialty pharmacy owners, managers, and pharmacy support staff are relentlessly working to drive better health outcomes and capitalize on the opportunities afforded by this distinct and unique practice setting. On the other hand, health plans, pharmacy benefit managers (PBM), government payers, and providers are looking to lower specialty drug spending and offer patients easy and affordable access to these high-cost, high complexity medicines.

Amidst this diverse mix of specialty pharmacy puzzle pieces, it can be incredibly grueling for specialty pharmacists to be conversant with the ever-evolving risks, regulations, and reimbursement policies. So, how does an independent specialty pharmacy stay profitable and drive new opportunities in the face of these challenges? Indianapolisbased Sphinx Strategies addresses this key question with its robust specialty pharmacy growth solutions.

Driven by the mission to become the nation’s most trusted independent specialty pharmacy consulting group, Sphinx creates value for pharmacies by helping them with accreditation preparation (URAC, ACHC, PCAB, DMEPOS, and NABP), developmental strategies, financial and operational excellence, payor contracting, data solutions, and more. Sphinx holds the “Premier” Status of ACHCCertified Consultant with a stellar record of excellence in guiding numerous pharmacies through the ACHC accreditation journey.

The Sphinx portfolio of clients range from independent pharmacies to large integrated delivery network (IDNs), accountable care organization (ACOs), and publicly traded pharmacies and insurers. Sphinx catalyzes its clients’ clinical, operational, and financial performance by equipping them with all of the tools and necessary guidance to steer their pharmacy operations toward success and achieve and surpass double and triple-digit ROIs.

THE BEGINNING CHAPTERS

Sphinx embarked on its journey in the specialty pharmacy industry back in 2015 with a keen focus on helping its clients navigate the complicated accreditation landscape. Accreditations often lay the foundation for specialty pharmacies to compete in the marketplace and are an important signifier of quality, safety, and reliability of service. Vic Simianu, Founder and CEO of Sphinx, says, “When it comes to servicing and growing their contracts, specialty pharmacies must begin with accreditation. And that was our niche focus when we started.” Being one of the first ACHC-Certified Consultants as well as guiding one of the first ever URAC-accredited Specialty Pharmacies, Simianu has witnessed compounded growth and expertise within the specialty pharmacy industry.

Over the years, Sphinx grew to be a leader in the specialty pharmacy accreditation space through word-of-mouth recommendations. However, in the specialty pharmacy business, expanding operations and winning contracts go above and beyond the efforts required to achieve accreditation. Drawing an interesting analogy, Simianu remarks, “We can think of accreditation as going to the gym, which is the first step. Then begins the process of developing the rest of the muscles to be successful in the industry.” To help clients with the same, Sphinx has introduced a diverse set of offerings across the entire specialty pharmacy management continuum. Whether it’s compliance management, operations management, analytics and insights, payor contracting, or Limited/Restricted Distribution Drugs (LDD/RDD) access, Sphinx covers it all. To deliver its services efficiently, Sphinx Strategies has also built different sub-brands, including SPRYNG, TEMPYL, SYLTOS, and its renowned top-compliance software solution in the space “AccreditGuard.”

PUSHING THE ENVELOPE OF SPECIALTY PHARMACY WITH SPRYNG

Sphinx has created a one-of-a-kind network of the highest performing regional independent specialty pharmacies— SPRYNG—as a contracting and fulfillment option to industry partners, manufacturers, plans, and PBMs.

Sphinx Strategies: Driving New Possibilities for Specialty Pharmacies

The goal is to bring together a select group of accredited independent specialty pharmacies and drive additional avenues for key stakeholders in the specialty pharmacy supply chain. “By forming a tight nationwide network, we can compete as one on national contracts, manufacturer contracts, payers, insurers, and develop certain business lines for our members even across different classes of trade. This allows our members to stay clinically driven and focus on ensuring excellent patient care and population health without having to worry about the business development and contracting piece,” explains Simianu.

By forming a tight nationwide network, we can compete as one on national contracts, manufacturer contracts, payers, insurers, and develop certain business lines for our members even across different classes of trade

Through SPRYNG, Sphinx is dedicated to helping its pharmacy members stay competitive and gain the business development opportunities, contracting opportunities, data analytics, manufacturer partnerships, and everything else needed to succeed in the space. In essence, Sphinx blends the expertise and relationships of its pharmacy members with its deep industry knowledge to create a small yet strong network that covers the hardest to treat disease states. At the same time, the company provides a solution for manufacturers, health plans, PBMs, and 340B entities who are looking to partner with independent specialty pharmacies on a local, regional, or national level. By bringing out the best of each operation and combining it together, the company ensures that its clients remain at the bleeding edge of therapies without having to follow a one-size-fits-all approach. Having started just about two years ago, the SPRYNG Network already has about 17 specialty pharmacies across the nation. It is expanding steadily to cover about 30 pharmacies by the end of the year.

A BESPOKE, WHITE-GLOVE SERVICE UNDERLINED BY CUSTOMER-CENTRICITY

For onboarding clients to the SPRYNG Network, Sphinx follows a simple, tiered approach. For all tiers, the process is kickstarted by conducting a two-day onsite (or remote) visit to understand clients’ operations, pain points, leadership, and culture. Upon receiving each application, the company’s team of dedicated and passionate pharmacists and chemists reviews all of the information to ensure compliance before onboarding a certain member. The requirement for dual accreditation is reserved for tier-one members. The dual accreditation is a prerequisite for understanding what data can be captured. For example, if something goes south in terms of therapy or with the patient, it is with this data that Sphinx can substantiate that all the necessary quality checks were conducted and also provide the safest and most direct triage of that patient. The Sphinx team works with all tier one members on a weekly basis and creates a customized plan to help them accomplish their immediate and future goals.

On the contrary, tier two and three members, who are still working on their accreditations or perhaps smaller in volume, have specific needs and do not need all the services that the tier one members do. The Tier II and III members have monthly or semi-monthly touchpoints, wherein the Sphinx team reviews all processes and updates and hand-holds them throughout the collaboration to proactively ensure they hit their ROI target.

This is where the TEMPYL brand comes into play. Through TEMPYL, Sphinx gathers key insights from across the industry, including pipeline reports, tools, and tactics to help clients build out their operations, monitor their targets, and hit their goals. Sphinx has the most comprehensive listing for any molecules going through the FDA pipeline. Backed by dedicated teams of analysts and chemists, the company continuously reviews those updates and is up to date with over 2800 molecules that could potentially affect the industry.
Sphinx works with providers, plan sponsors, and the SPRYNG-contracted suppliers, proactively informing them about the medications or groundbreaking molecules in the pipeline that hold the potential to impact certain therapies, such as treatment for rheumatic conditions or immunodeficiency diseases.

SUCCESS METRICS THAT SPEAK VOLUMES

The SPRYNG Network has repeatedly demonstrated its value in the specialty pharmacy space, where the level of merger and acquisition (M&A) activity has been quite stagnant over the last couple of years. In an industry where there are merely 10- 15 mergers and acquisitions happening in a year, three specialty pharmacies—that have been a part of the SPRYNG Network for a year and a half—have been acquired. These pharmacies had been working with Sphinx since the time they had under five employees, and today, they have grown into multi-million-dollar behemoths. Leveraging the Sphinx model, they were able to scale their volume, stage exit, and achieve significant ROI within a short amount of time.
  • We can think of accreditation as going to the gym, which is the first step. Then begins the process of developing the rest of the muscles to be successful in the industry


The success that Sphinx has achieved over the years can be accredited to an incredible team at the helm. Guided by the deep expertise and business acumen that Simianu brings to the table, the Sphinx team thrives and stays engaged in a corporate culture underlined by innovation and autonomy. Endowing his team with a flexible environment, Simianu ensures that they are satisfied and happy doing what they do and constantly provides them with new frontiers to foster growth. To nurture the entrepreneurial spirit of his team members, he seeks to launch additional brands, solutions, or products every year.


Sphinx is always on the lookout for highly analytical and motivated candidates, or in Simianu’s words, “nerds,” who can effectively communicate what they need for their product or solution to succeed. They may not be exposed to the whole industry, but each team member drives their own processes with complete ownership, which eventually shapes them as great leaders.

To spruce up its innovation streak in the specialty pharmacy space, Sphinx has shifted its headquarters from Colorado to Indianapolis—which is light years ahead of many states in terms of life sciences initiatives. Apart from being a hotbed of life sciences innovation, Indiana is home to some of the major suppliers in the industry. Sphinx has already established a national footprint with SPRYNG members spread nationwide, with Sphinx employees across California, Minnesota, Florida, New York, Indiana, and Kentucky. The company made its strategic move to the Midwest with an aim to scale nationally and deploy resources wherever required within the country in a short amount of time.

Despite the hustle of launching the different brands, shifting headquarters, and tackling the repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sphinx has managed to grow by 120 percent within the last year alone, with an additional 60 percent within the last quarter. In the days to come, the company is poised to grow its brands at least ten times along with its comprehensive virtual compliance manager and one-stop audit sentinel – Accreditguard. Always up to speed with emerging regulations in the space, Sphinx will adopt more IDNs and infusion centers operations while empowering its pharmacy clients with solutions that are as unique as their needs. All in all, Sphinx is excited about new developments in 2022 and is looking to expand its footprint across the nation and grow its footprint from about 2 Billion in spend to potentially five (Billion) by the end of 2022.