The Top 60: Pace

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Pace, a member of the Lowe Healthcare network, grew by 20% in 2007. Sharon McCarroll returned to Pace as general manager, executive creative director. McCarroll works in tandem with Mary Beriont, general manager, EVP, director of client services, and Neil Drucker, EVP, business development, says Beriont. “With me growing up on the creative side, and Mary a cross-functional professional, we're a big part of the day-to-day process. It's good for lower management to see that,” says McCarroll.

Pace had four account wins in 2007, and claims zero losses. “We won [Nexavar] from Bayer on a new indication—it's a global business assignment co-marketed with Onyx Pharmaceuticals,” says Beriont. For Duramed Pharmaceuticals, Pace held professional duties on Plan B, an emergency contraceptive, as well as ParaGard, a non-hormonal intrauterine contraceptive. Pace also handles Duramed's Seasonique, an extended-regimen birth control.

McCarroll says there has been an influx of targeted areas. “Oncology is two-thirds of the pipeline—that has affected the creative development, and provided a great opportunity to build a strong brand. That's top of mind for us,” she says. “Oncology is a great opportunity to build business, and we're making a concerted effort,” adds Beriont. Pace has a base of experience in therapeutic classes including women's health, cardiovascular and respiratory, according to Beriont.

At Pace, clients know what they're getting and they clearly understand how the agency implements creative, explains McCarroll. “No one wants to be treated as a vendor. We work with our clients as true partners, and we facilitate that relationship.” With Nexavar, a hepatocellular carcinoma treatment, the launch “resonated and rose above the rest—we capitalized on the client's icon, ‘Take life further,'” says Beriont. “Simplicity is valuable with a global campaign, so it can resonate in the global market,” she says. Pace received a chunk of oncology business with Celgene, a year-old client that is already building its relationship organically, says Beriont. Pace now holds AOR duties for three Celgene oncology products: Revlimid (for multiple myeloma), Alkeran (a chemotherapy treatment) and Thalomid (for multiple myeloma). Another score came from Novartis, who assigned Pace with the consumer business for its hypertension product, Exforge.

“We have challenges every day,” says McCarroll. “Coming out of 2006 was time of big change. In 2007 we wanted to get the business going—it was a big pitch year,” she says. “We want to take it to the next level,” says Beriont. “We went through some significant management changes and staff changes, we had people who left, and that we were able to bring back.”

McCarroll says having physicians to tap into, such as director of medical strategy Suketu Patel, is “critical across all disease states, but especially oncology, with data dissemination, for example,” says McCarroll.

Pace is a professional agency with a consumer agency, Pace Consumer, just down the hall. “We can tap into our consumer agency and vice-versa,” says McCarroll. She describes Pace's core capabilities as advertising, promotion, strategy and brand building.
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