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Biolumina has historically positioned itself as “the oncology agency,” concentrating on the space long before other companies attempted to muscle in on it. Given this focus, the firm spent much of its energy appealing to HCPs.

But according to president and CEO Kirsten Kantak, 2021 saw Biolumina begin to shift its emphasis toward
patient work.

“It’s incredibly important to have strong ties between your professional and patient communications — particularly in the world of oncology, where you’re making life and death decisions in terms of therapy choices,” she explains. “Our goal is to be able to support the conversations between people with cancer, their loved ones and the healthcare providers who are helping to navigate the disease state.”

In the wake of the slight course adjustment, revenue jumped 31% in 2021, to an MM+M-estimated $85 million from an estimated $65 million in 2020. The growth was fueled by new assignments from AstraZeneca, Janssen, Celldex Therapeutics and BeiGene. They join client mainstays Pfizer and Novartis on Biolumina’s roster.

Staff size increased from an MM+M-estimated 230 people on hand at the beginning of 2021 to an estimated 265 at the end of the year. Key executive additions included SVP, management  supervisor Nadine Fabish, who joined from AbelsonTaylor; SVP, creative director, art Jason Davis, from Harrison and Star; and SVP, creative director, copy Emily Segalla, from VMLY&R.

Kantak says that Biolumina has continued to distinguish itself on the creative front, pointing to a Seagen campaign for its HER2+ metastatic breast cancer drug Tukysa as a fine example of the firm’s approach. The campaign, See Breast Think Brain, is designed to raise awareness about brain metastases among breast cancer patients. It showcases an artistic and almost elegant visualization of a breast cancer scan.

“What’s interesting is that the prevalence of brain metastasis in women and people with HER2+ metastatic breast cancer is often overlooked,” she explains. “Around 50% of people get brain metastases when they have breast cancer, but physicians don’t recognize that. They often wait to see symptoms to treat, rather than prevent it.”

As part of its efforts to drive DE&I throughout the company — and throughout the industry — Biolumina partnered with COOP, an organization that attempts to push back against underemployment by helping individuals evolve their digital skills and peer connections. Several Biolumina employees now serve as COOP peer coaches.

“When we think about the importance of DE&I and the talent world we’re in, we want to do as much as we can to create a more diverse and inclusive environment within the agency and outside the agency,” Kantak says. “That includes finding opportunities to do partnerships like this and introduce more people to the world of pharmaceutical advertising.” 

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

The World Wildlife Foundation’s Microplastics campaign is breathtaking. It conveys the enormity of the microplastics problem — namely, that they are ruining our oceans. The imagery of oceans with galaxy-like microplastics floating across the horizon illustrates the massive scale of the problem. The visuals and copy work together to communicate a singular message: It’s time to save our oceans. — Kantak