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ARCHIVED  July 2, 1999

Women’s online health company purchased

FORT COLLINS — Women’s Health Interactive, a 3-year-old Fort Collins business that brings women’s health information to a net-wise audience, has been purchased and will expand its local base of operations.

The Canadian firm Medical Pathways International Inc. acquired the Web-based business for an undisclosed amount.

On the near horizon is the pending purchase of a 7,000-square-foot, two-story building near Boardwalk Drive and Whaler’s Way. Just slightly more distant is an initial public offering of stock in the new company “within the next 12 to 18 months,´ said Women’s Health Interactive co-founder Gene Hodge.

“We’re thrilled that the hard work we put into this has reached this point,´ said Hodge, who, with his wife, Marilyn, launched Women’s Health Interactive in 1996. “This will allow us to fulfill a commitment to some of the other things we’ve dreamed of doing.”

Gene Hodge will assume the title of president of Medical Pathways, and Marilyn Hodge will become senior vice president and continue as president of Women’s Health Interactive.

The acquisition brings resources that will allow the Hodges to develop more online health services, adding to the women’s health information Web site that attracts 600,000 visits monthly.

Terms of the purchase agreement will not be announced until shortly before the July 31 closing date.

“It’s probably premature to talk about that, but it’s safe to say the valuation of our business is in the millions,” Hodge said. “WHI is a well-established business.”

Medical Pathways CEO Michael Lasky said the acquisition of Women’s Health Interactive was “a crucial building block” for the company’s future plans.

“Since its inception just three years ago, WHI has been a leader in providing a wide range of health-related information services specifically tailored to women,” Lasky said.

The next Internet identity for Medical Pathways will be OnLine2health.com, a more generalized site for health information.

Hodge said new online products would be developed using the same philosophy that has made Women’s Health Interactive successful.

“What we are interested in doing is not just generating hits or creating activity,” Hodge said, acknowledging that the “hit count” is a widely accepted measure of Internet business success.

“We are building relationships with women. We are what we call an Rinfomediary,’ providing information and advocacy services. We are in the business of providing education that builds relationships.”

In addition to building relationships with interactive users of womens-health.com, the Hodges have established an Internet identity for their site that makes it the most prominent women’s health resource on most Internet search engines.

Maintaining visibility in the Wild West of the Web is the key to Internet business success, Hodge said.

“When you look at the offerings on the Web for women’s health — or any other sort of health, for that matter — what you see is a lot of ‘stuff,'” Hodge said. “Most of it is reproduced, repackaged or ‘repurposed’ for the Web. We didn’t do that. We’ve been able to brand our material, and make it more specialized than the splash of stuff that is out there.”

The Hodges have put their backgrounds — his as a pharmaceuticals executive, hers as a registered nurse — into the business, and the combination has given them a head-start on large, well-financed competitors, Hodge said.

FORT COLLINS — Women’s Health Interactive, a 3-year-old Fort Collins business that brings women’s health information to a net-wise audience, has been purchased and will expand its local base of operations.

The Canadian firm Medical Pathways International Inc. acquired the Web-based business for an undisclosed amount.

On the near horizon is the pending purchase of a 7,000-square-foot, two-story building near Boardwalk Drive and Whaler’s Way. Just slightly more distant is an initial public offering of stock in the new company “within the next 12 to 18 months,´ said Women’s Health Interactive co-founder Gene Hodge.

“We’re thrilled that the hard work we put…

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