While most people were social distancing in 2020, Invivo Communications was working on getting more than 415 people together.

In September, the agency was acquired by global learning and performance solutions giant Red Nucleus. This had the effect of nearly quadrupling the newly merged organization’s head count, from 105 people at the end of 2019 to 400 at the end of 2020.

According to Invivo CEO Andrea Bielecki, the deal was designed to put the Toronto-based agency in a position to reach a wider audience for its clients. To that point, the agency’s footprint has expanded to seven locations across North America, Europe and Asia.

Invivo Communications

“We’ve always done global work —global clients, global accounts,” Bielecki explains. “But now that we have offices in London and Tokyo and India and a number of offices in the U.S., we’re able to have people on the ground in different countries to serve our clients locally.”

That geographical expansion, in turn, enables strategic and tactical expansion. “The strategies and tactics which have always been digital have evolved into more robust omnichannel strategies that are integrated more fully into our clients’ existing enterprise platforms,” Bielecki adds.

The combined company comprises Invivo’s digital medcomms and Red Nucleus’ educational platforms, thus potentially giving clients access to solutions across the product lifecycle. According to Red Nucleus CEO Ian Kelly, clients can now access a suite of products including learner engagement platform Unify, gamification platform Rcade and video validated patient clinical trial platform Control.

“A lot of patients are unable to go to clinical trial sites, so now we can offer them a validated video platform in the comfort of their own home. They don’t have to travel,” Kelly says.

Invivo’s access to Red Nucleus talent and especially its Strategy and Change business unit, which works primarily with clinical departments, potentially expands the agency’s customer base. Bielecki says the firm can better work with “the whole pharmaceutical company, versus just medical affairs and commercial.” 

Invivo’s 2020 revenue was flat at $20 million — though adding revenue generated by Red Nucleus, which was up 17% during the year, brings the total to $80 million. Bielecki says some of the Red Nucleus revenue was attributable to programs cross-sold between the two companies’ client bases.

“If you look at just what we’ve done on our own, it’s $20 million. I’m very happy with that, considering that the majority of our focus has been around the integration into a new company and moving to remote work and not being able to go out and see our clients,” she explains.

Invivo’s 2020 included the addition of assignments from AstraZeneca, Gilead, Ultragenyx, UCB, Roche and Galderma, among others. The work itself was a mix of all things digital, from educational games and medical animations to mixed-reality programs and wellness video.

Bielecki is especially proud of Invivo’s work on behalf of Somali Families Services of San Diego and the Somali Health Initiative for Access, a narrative-based virtual reality animation campaign designed to increase MMR vaccination rates within the Somali population in San Diego. “We did a lot of patient research,” she says. “It was about the importance around communications and trust when addressing new populations in vaccines.”

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The idea I wish I had…

Don’t Be Blind to the Truth by Biolumina and the United Nations. This was and still is an important and timely campaign, because it emphasizes the importance of focusing on science and fact to inform our dialogue about the coronavirus. Truth is central to putting an end to discriminatory misperceptions based in racism and ageist animus. — Andrea Bielecki