RevHealth has traditionally presented itself as “the pre-launch agency,” branding which has served it well over the course of the firm’s 15-year history. But with COVID-19 wreaking havoc on regulatory schedules, the Food and Drug Administration didn’t weigh in on four of RevHealth’s pipeline products as expected.
But with new-business efforts bearing fruit, the agency weathered the blows. Revenue rose 3%, to $43.5 million from $42.1 in 2019. Staff size grew in tandem, from 155 full-timers at the end of 2019 to 170 at the end of 2020 to 192 at the end of March.
Indeed, consistent right-sizing of staff and resources has been key to maintaining RevHealth’s well-being over the years, according to managing partner Bruce Epstein. As a result, he proudly notes, the agency has never endured layoffs, missed a raise or skipped a bonus since its inception.
“I don’t think any other advertising agency can brag about that,” he says.
Another point of pride is the staff’s medical and scientific acumen, with around 20% of its people holding a Ph.D., PharmD or other advanced degree. “These aren’t just medical directors sharing their thoughts,” Epstein notes. “They’re working on the business day-to-day, as scientific writers, copywriters, promotional writers and account people.”
By way of example, Epstein notes the difficulty many firms are having in devising package inserts and related content: “We can assist on that because we have the experience. We know how to dig into the data and clinical study reports and find new claims that the scientists, in developing the study, may not have considered.”
New business added during 2020 included assignments from Melinta Therapeutics, Aquestive Therapeutics and Blueprint Medicines. They join work from Novartis, AbbVie, Bayer and Regeneron on the agency’s roster.
Epstein credits “previous good work” for sparking many of the agency’s recent successes. “As ‘the pre-launch agency,’ we get in early. There’s a natural progression of additional work,” he notes.
He also touts the agency’s continuing digital transformation as one of the year’s biggest successes. To meet client needs, RevHealth has doubled the size of its digital department. “We have everything in place now to do digital work from beginning to end,” says Epstein. Around 70% of the formerly print-centric agency’s work is now produced in some kind of digital format.
In the years ahead, look for RevHealth to push deeper into what Epstein believes is the largely untapped realm of patient education. Many large pharma companies offer assistance programs for their products but patients don’t access them because they simply don’t know how, he explains.
“As a company, that’s a place we’re waiting to go. The divide is too large in this country between the haves and have-nots,” he adds.
As for 2020’s launch delays, Epstein isn’t sweating them. “It’s a shock because you don’t see it coming, but we picked up so much new business that it worked out,” he says. “And it bodes well for our future, because all these products are going to come back.”
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The idea I wish I had…
A Thousand Words About NTM, from Insmed. By pairing patients living with nontuberculous mycobacteria (NTM) with animators, the company developed an impactful, emotional glimpse into the daily life of a person with NTM. The HCP-targeted initiative relies on emotive storytelling that allows everyone to experience how patients view life with this disease. Unbreakable, Trapped and Isolation are the titles of the animated films — and they couldn’t have chosen better, because those three words demonstrate an instant, intuitive connection. — Bruce Epstein