Top 100 Agencies: Kane & Finkel Healthcare Communications

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Kane & Finkel's work for Bayer HealthCare's Xofigo
Kane & Finkel's work for Bayer HealthCare's Xofigo

Kane & Finkel Healthcare Communications (K&F) was busy last year planning simultaneous launches for a variety of clients, though principal and MD John Kane says tactical execution didn't happen until this year. Revenue was up about 3.5% for the San Francisco-headquartered shop.

“Our energy was focused last year on building strategic plans and further developing new client relationships,” says principal and chief creative officer Bob Finkel. “We also strengthened our digital skills and competency.”

Seven people with digital expertise joined. Total headcount was down slightly to 70 (five in London), which Finkel attributes to standard attrition. Six positions are open in San Francisco and one in London.

Finkel says recruiting is tough, as always, adding that the agency is now directly competing with software companies as well as other agencies for talent.

“We're hiring people who have greater depth of experience because they've been working in marketing venues that aren't as highly regulated,” Kane says. “They're much more adept at social media.”

The London office, which opened in 2010, is growing, with existing clients such as Astellas and American Medical Systems. John Flaherty, formerly COO of ApotheCom ScopeMedical and EVP at GSW Worldwide, was named European director of K&F in London.

New relationships began with Corcept, Cyberonics, Nektar, Carl Zeiss Meditec and OrthoAccel. From Corcept the agency won professional AOR status on Cushing's syndrome treatment Korlym. Cyberonics awarded HCP and patient-facing work on two devices—ProGuardian (AOR) and VNS Therapy (project work). Nektar assigned project work marketing its oncology and pain management platforms. HCP branding work was won on two Carl Zeiss Meditec products (ophthalmology and breast cancer), and OrthoAccel awarded project work on orthodontic treatment device AcceleDent.

Existing client Bayer awarded digital work on a new oncology brand. US AOR designation won in 2011 on Raptor Pharmaceuticals' RP-103 (for potential treatment of nephropathic cystinosis) expanded to include project work on the brand in Europe.

A management change claimed work on Accera's Axona (Alzheimer's disease). AOR work on Dynavax Technologies' Heplisav (adult hepatitis B vaccine) stalled due to lack of approval early this year.

Finkel says clients are more interested in addressing informational needs of patients and caregivers, including how and when to best communicate with them.

“There's a tremendous amount of interest among clients in understanding the patient experience—particularly the patient journey,” he says. “There's a huge number of empowered patients, and they're influencing treatment decisions with the goal of directing their own outcome to some degree. So patients are shaping the way healthcare information is being communicated and delivered.”

Kane says clients Gilead and Astellas are doing a great job connecting with patients on digital platforms.

As this trend continues, Finkel feels the convergence of communications and medicine will forge some interesting industry partnerships.

Focus on patient-driven communications and technical innovation are ongoing priorities for the agency.

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