The Top 75: AgencyRx
The agency has deployed “LAB teams (Leading Accounts and Brands),” consisting of a creative team, account lead, digital lead and strategic services lead, on every account. The multi-pronged approach is reflected in the agency's leadership team, consisting of managing partners Michael Schreiber, who is executive creative director, Wendi Goodman, who is director of client services, Fred Kinch, creative director and Marina Jean, MD, director of strategic and scientific services.
“Since the merger, we've invested in the strategic services and digital areas to bolster them,” says Schreiber, noting that each of those offerings have gone from representing less than 3% of the agency's business to generating between 15% and 20% over the course of a year. Strategic services includes medical and scientific affairs, account planning and business strategy. “Those areas have grown significantly, and this holistic offering that we have on every brand has really helped define our culture and propelled us to another level,” says Schreiber.
“We had to put our money where our mouth is with the LAB team structure and really investing in those disciplines to support them, because that's where the business is,” says Goodman. That's bringing in work the firm would not have otherwise gotten, she adds.
“We have taken on some very heavy types of medical programs and we staff them as a med ed company would staff them—with a medical director as opposed to an account person leading them, for example,” says Goodman. “We're getting assignments for very specific high-science needs.” On the digital side, she says, “We've had three separate clients ask us to do their iPad pilots for them.”
The company had a solid string of new wins, the largest of which was from Celgene, for their hematology portfolio including Revlimid and Istodax, along with some pipeline products. The firm, which works on Genentech's Rituxan for rheumatoid arthritis, expanded its relationship with that client to take on Xeloda. “This was a big deal for us because it's actually a different group within Genentech,” says Goodman. The shop also landed King's Thrombin-JMI (now owned by Pfizer) hemostatic agent and expanded its Teva Women's Health assignment to include global.
The agency lost two accounts: Novartis' Fanapt, which shifted to CDM New York, and Zenpep, a small assignment which ended when its maker, Eurand, was bought by Axcan (now Aptalis).
The shop also lost one of its partners, as creative director, art Ralph Skorge retired. Headcount held about steady, even as the firm bolstered its digital and strategic services departments. The firm has also beefed up its West Coast office to service its growing business with Genentech and pursue new clients, increasing dedicated staff based out of CDM's San Francisco outpost from three to 11.
“It's a full LAB team out there,” says Goodman, and it's led by Garth McCallum, SVP management supervisor, and Lena Cheng, MD, VP, medical director, medical and scientific affairs.
“The LAB team, including the medical expertise, I think uniquely positions us to be the premier healthcare professional communications company,” says Schreiber.