A small Minnesota-based investment bank you've never heard of got in on a $3.6 billion Wall Street deal

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Think of Minnesota, and the first thing that probably comes to mind is the state's 10,000 lakes. Not multi-billion dollar pharma deals.

But that's exactly what's on the mind of the 50-plus financiers at TripleTree, a Minneapolis-based investment bank focusing on healthcare and healthcare tech deals.

The boutique investment bank, which was founded in 1997, is slated to split $15 million to $20 million with Lazard, a New York-based investment bank, for its role advising Express Scripts in its $3.6 billion acquisition of eviCore healthcare , according to estimates from Freeman & Co, the consultancy. The deal was announced on Tuesday.

Business Insider caught up with TripleTree president Dawn Owens to discuss the firm's strategy for winning roles on big deals in healthcare. She told Business Insider that it's deeply connected to the firm's history as a group of professionals with a "deadly insightful" and "exclusive focus" on the healthcare industry.

She said ten years ago that expertise had many large companies coming to the firm asking them for help understanding the market.

"So what we decided to do to support this demand was start a buyer briefing program to help give these companies perspectives on the healthcare industry," Owens said.

The point of the program is to help companies explore topics in healthcare that they're evaluating. In one sense, TripleTree acts as a sort of strategic adviser. In another sense, however, the program is best thought of as a stepping stone. The logic is: If the bank can show off its smarts to big companies, then they'll come to them for investment banking services.

Express Scripts worked with TripleTree's buyer briefing program.

Owens said the firm's value proposition is in its specificity. She said the investment bank possesses a depth of knowledge that is very specialized compared to banks like JPMorgan. Of course, JPMorgan and other large investment banks have big banking teams focusing solely on healthcare and pharma.

Still, Owens was adamant that TripleTree is a crust above the rest.

"The knowledge our bankers have is deeper than what you would see at a bulge bracket bank like JPMorgan," she said."We are not wading in the water. We are in the deep end."

As for the deals the firm goes after, Owens said the firm is not a "one-trick pony." As such, they are going after all pharma and healthcare deals, no matter the size.

Boutique firms like TripleTree, which typically go after small-to-medium sized deals, have done well since the financial crisis. These smaller firms, along with much larger independent advisory firms like Lazard and Rothschild, have gained ground on their big bank rivals, with three independent firms ranked in the top ten for global M&A fees in 2017. In total, these firms have picked up an extra 11% in market share since 2007, according to data from Thomson Reuters. Meanwhile, the top five big banks have seen their share of fees drop from 37% to 33%.

JPMorgan and Morgan Stanley advised eviCore in the deal. Sell-side fees to the two banks should be around $20 to 30 million, according to estimates from Freeman & Co.

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