The Top 60: Euro RSCG Life MetaMax

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Euro RSCG Life MetaMax got new operational leadership and landed several new accounts over the past year while restructuring to get senior management closer to the accounts. 

As president Doug Burcin moved up to worldwide managing partner, Euro RSCG Life, Julie Monroid joined the firm as managing director from Cline Davis and Mann, where she had worked on Viagra and Relpax and led the Novo Nordisk insulin franchise business. Under Monroid, the agency reorganized from a classical centralized account management structure into business units, or pods. 

“In today's business environment you have to stay close to the business, so it's important for people to have frontline responsibilities,” says Monroid. 

MetaMax, which boasts a total staff of 120, brought on Diane Pencek to serve as EVP, director of client services, with some cross-unit responsibility but direct responsibility for the firm's key Sanofi-Aventis and Merz accounts. Kathy Coogan, Mark Porter and Andy Willmer were named SVP, managing supervisors, with Porter taking responsibility for the Biogen business and Willmer heading the New Jersey office.

The agency's 25-person New Jersey office moved from Lambertville to Princeton, where it shares space— and the Lovenox business—with sibling Catapult. “Part of what drove us to combine those agencies together was to get those synergies going,” says Monroid.

In mid-2007, MetaMax landed the US and global professional assignment for Asenapine, Organon's atypical antipsychotic. “They're going to launch into a very competitive space, with Abilify, Risperdal, Xyprexa, etc.,” says Monroid. 

More recently, the firm won the US professional Avonex account from Biogen, for which it previously handled the Tysabri business. 

The shop has the US and global professional assignment on German firm Merz's medical aesthetics franchise, including a line of fillers and a Botox-like compound. And MetaMax picked up the US and global professional assignment for Bayer/Regeneron anti-VEGF drug VEGF Trap-Eye for Wet AMD. The product is in early Phase 3 clinical trials. 

“Which is fantastic,” says Monroid, “because I think more and more products need to focus on that part of the lifecycle to prepare the market from a strategic standpoint, and it's also a testament to our ability to work on products at earlier stages, which I think is a big trend in the industry.”

The wins with Bayer/Regeneron, Organon/Schering-Plough and Merz expanded the firm's client portfolio from five to eight clients. Meanwhile, the five-year-old firm continued its unbroken record of no losses. 

Key accounts include the foundational Lantus business, together with Sanofi-Aventis' Apidra and Lovenox and Biogen's MS franchise. Started in 2003 as a breakout shop to launch Lantus in 80-odd countries, MetaMax has prospered from its partnership with Sanofi-Aventis. True to its mission, most of the agency's accounts are US and global. 

“What MetaMax was born to do was really to be global and think multichannel,” says Monroid. “That's partly because of the Lantus model, which was one of an agency that could go across different practices, and it's still true today.” 

MetaMax's brand heritage, within the Euro RSCG Life network, is that of “agile entrepreneurs,” says Monroid. “Obviously, it's really speaking to the entrepreneurial spirit of the people here, and their ability 
to work on a global scale in a fast-changing, dynamic marketplace.” 

In such a topsy-turvy marketplace, MetaMax isn't taking its good fortune for granted. 

“You've got to be ready for anything in this market,” says Monroid. “With the FDA, it's hard to say anymore on approvals. Even with products that are on the market, things can happen. You really have to be able to roll with it. Issue management is a big need right now. But we've done well with that, because obviously, with Tysabri, you could learn a lot.”   
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