Top 100 Agencies: LehmanMillet

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LehmanMillet work for PreferaOB
LehmanMillet work for PreferaOB

LehmanMillet will celebrate its 35th anniversary this December. Bruce Lehman, the president and CEO of the Boston-headquartered HealthSTAR Communications agency, is still happy to get up and go to work.

“I might be the longest standing CEO in the business,” he says with a laugh.

But Lehman is hardly resting on his laurels, continuing to embrace change. Over the last five years, he's steered the agency as it broadened its historical focus on devices and diagnostics to include specialty products and, specifically, companies that “seek to change the standard of healthcare.” The portfolio is now evenly balanced with devices and diagnostics work and Rx work, and Lehman expects to end 2013 with 75% of business on the Rx side.

“We're working with truly innovative D&D companies, which is really our forte, and that practice continues to grow as the agency grows as a whole—also driven by, frankly, the larger budgets in biotech and specialty pharma,” Lehman says.

Seven AOR assignments helped propel double-digit revenue growth last year. They included professional AOR status in the US for EMD Serono's oncology franchise; AOR status on Genomic Health's genetic test panel Oncotype DX (for indications in breast, prostate and colon cancer); and AOR status for the launch of a non-invasive colon cancer test from Exact Sciences.

Work with Myriad Genetics was resigned to resolve a conflict with one piece of the Genomic business.

The agency also won AOR designation on Amedica's portfolio of orthopedic devices; on OvaScience's Augment (IVF); on an ICD device from Biotronik; and for the Multiple Myeloma Research Foundation.

Lehman reports the agency became a founding partner agency in the HealthSTAR Vivactus Global Network last year, which significantly expanded worldwide reach to include 20 operating units in 33 countries.

“The partnership lets us seriously compete for global RFPs and enables us to put into a room trusted colleagues who are aligned with our thinking to work on a common agenda for a brand,” Lehman explains. “We've done a fair amount of global work historically, but it's always been conceived and deployed from the US. Today if a client wants feet on the street in Singapore or Berlin or Dubai we can give them that.

“Good agencies produce great work because they have great understanding of the value of insight, and the best way to get insight is to be there in the markets,” Lehman adds. “We can now compete effectively at that level.”

Staff has held steady at 81 overall with 39 in California. The California crew moved from Irvine to a much bigger office in Santa Ana last year. Andrew Ting, MD joined this year as medical director, and there are currently positions open on both coasts.

Lehman expects that the agency will end the year with about 90 employees. And when it comes to revenue, he is anticipating an increase of about 15% to 20% in that department.

“I'm very gratified by the repositioning paying off, and I'm bullish on the future because of this,” he says. “Looking at what's going on in delivery of healthcare, the demands being placed on the system globally are higher quality, more efficiency and more targeted, smaller patient populations. That leads right into what biotech and specialty pharma companies are doing, and its really what's driving innovation in D&D. We're incredibly well aligned with where healthcare is going. That's pretty exciting.”
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