100 Agencies: Kane & Finkel Healthcare Communications

Principals John Kane and Bob Finkel
Principals John Kane and Bob Finkel

Kane & Finkel had revenue growth of  8.5% last year—right on target with what the San Francisco-headquartered firm's principal and managing director John Kane expected.

“We executed according to the plan we put together in 2010 to use creative communications to maximize market potential, solve problems and minimize market obstacles,” Kane says.

“We're geared towards entrepreneurial-minded companies and individuals,” explains principal and chief creative officer Bob Finkel. “The ‘inner entrepreneur' we believe exists in a lot of companies—startups, mid-size or small specialty pharma companies—but even in large pharma companies there are accounts and groups that are entrepreneurial by nature.”


New client relationships included AOR for the launch of Dynavax Technologies' Heplisav (HPB); global project work on a Cepheid CT/NG test; domestic project work on Onset Dermatologics' HylatopicPlus (atopic dermatitis); and global launch work for Raptor Pharmaceuticals' RP-103 (ultra orphan drug for nephropathic cystinosis). Other project assignments came from Celgene (MDS treatment Revlimid) and American Medical Systems (corporate communications).

Existing clients Allergan, Santen, Astellas Pharma US and Xoma all awarded new business without a pitch. AOR assignments were awarded from Astellas (for an anti-rejection drug for kidney transplants) and Xoma (for a combination anti-hypertensive agent). Marketing training workshops expanded with Allergan on an international basis. Domestic project work on patient advocacy development was won from Santen.

Kane notes varying levels of digital sophistication among clients—some have robust programs while others may just want web site work.

“Some clients that previously did DTC broadcast are looking at more internet-oriented engagements,” he adds. “Clients have to feel comfortable engaging constituents via social media.” He also says iPad uptake is pretty pervasive.

“Most clients are in the iPad detailing world or making the conversion,” Finkel adds. “Very few are limited to print detail aids. That shift is happening brand by brand for some and enterprise-wide for others. ”

Headcount held at about 75 (five in the London office). Jan Vennari joined in the US as client services director.

New business came this year from Vertex, Cyberonics, OrthoAcel and Bayer, with six launches slated between now and 2013. Kane expects about 5% growth.

“We're doing a fair amount of training and marketing workshops—right now we have proposals in to help companies with training and selling on the iPad,” Finkel adds. “So our involvement isn't just in pure marketing and communications anymore. We're looking at that as a continuing trend.”
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