Top 100 Agencies 2014: CAHG

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Omnicom agency has the tools to build on its blockbuster success

Top 100 Agencies 2014: CAHG
Top 100 Agencies 2014: CAHG

CAHG had a fantastic year. Highlights included three big launches—Gilead's hepatitis C blockbuster Sovaldi, a new formulation of the antipsychotic Abilify for Otsuka and Lundbeck, and Bayer's pulmonary hypertension product Adempas.

“We ended the year as the only agency ever to have the number-one selling product in the US, Abilify, and the most successful pharma product in the history of the industry, Sovaldi,” says president and CEO of the Omincom agency Scott Cotherman, who also serves as chairman of TBWA\WorldHealth network.

Cotherman adds that CAHG is US and global AOR for Sovaldi and a variety of follow-on formulations, so he's looking forward to a long relationship with Gilead.

There was plenty of activity on the new business front as well, with wins coming in for products from Amgen, Ferring, Nora Therapeutics and Theravance.

A San Francisco office opened last year to serve Gilead and expand business with more west coast clients. The agency also launched Bioceutics, a personalized healthcare consultancy, in partnership with Diaceutics.

Cotherman reports “significant double-digit growth” (in the $40-million to $65-million range), plus a significant increase in digital work over the course of 2013.

“Everything is turning towards digital,” he says. “We started the year with about one quarter of our work in digital and ended the year with more than 75% of our work in digital.”

CAHG is winning more specialty product work and more work with midsize pharma companies. Though the agency has had a personalized healthcare practice for years, the capability was bolstered with the launch of Bioceutics. “Bioceutics is a marketing and education consultancy dedicated to the promise of personalized healthcare, and it's getting us involved in early strategic conversations with clients that are looking to build out their portfolios and capabilities in that area,” Cotherman explains.

The agency's overall work has clients knocking on its door as well. “Last year a representative from a company got in touch with us because he was directed to find the agency that launched Solvadi and hire it,” Cotherman says. “You can't underestimate the power of great success, great processes and great people putting their energies behind these brands.”  

Cotherman feels client-side consolidation will continue and accelerate. “There are also some companies that are cleaving themselves apart to create greater shareholder value, such as Abbott and AbbVie,” he adds. “So there is a segment of companies coming together and a segment of companies looking to split in two.”

“Also the corporate tax rate in the US is not favorable,” Cotherman continues. “Some pharma companies can take advantage of a more favorable tax treatment outside the US, and I think we'll see more of that as well.”

The agency is busy again this year preparing for new launches, including a fixed-dose combination of ­ledipasvir and Sovaldi (pending approval). Plans include continued expansion of global capability through TBWA\WorldHealth network.

“We're very focused on developing markets,” Cotherman notes. “Our 48 offices in 36 countries are continuing to provide opportunities to handle more global brand launches. That's very important and a key trend—brands truly are being launched globally now as opposed to just in individual markets, and our clients are asking for that.”

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