Oxford PharmaGenesis CEO Christopher Winchester isn’t one to take shots at other companies. But when asked about his firm’s recent successes, he attributes them to the fact that the organization is owned by people who are actively engaged in the business.

“There’s no external paymaster calling the shots,” he says. “Either we’re calling them or our clients are calling them. We’re not serving two masters.”

As a result, Oxford PharmaGenesis is able to maintain a dual focus on work and culture. “We’re focused on something more important than just making money. We’re here to help our clients deliver quality and make a positive difference in the world,” Winchester adds.

North American revenue spiked 26% in 2021, from $10.7 million in 2020 to $13.5 million. Globally, the agency saw revenue grow to $66.1 million, a 25% increase from 2020’s $52.8 million.

Along the way, it added a host of assignments from pharma A-listers, including work from Bristol Myers Squibb, Pfizer, Takeda, Gilead Sciences and Novo Nordisk. They joined client mainstays Novartis, AstraZeneca, Merck and Abbott on Oxford PharmaGenesis’ expansive roster.

According to EVP Brian Falcone, the growth can be attributed in large part to the agency’s relationship with its people. It grew North American staff size by around 20 people in 2021, ending the year with an MM+M-estimated 80 staffers under its roof. Key additions included director of innovation Martin Callaghan, global reward and recognition manager David Williamson and operations director, digital and creative services Stacey Maynard.

The hiring pace accelerated further in 2022, prompting the agency to add new service offerings and attempt to distinguish itself as “a more intellectual and rigorous organization with high ethical standards,” Falcone says. Similarly, the agency has put into place a coaching program designed to move its people up through its ranks.

“Here, it’s not the steel that gets mined or the ore that gets smelted. It’s the brains of the people that we have,” Falcone continues, noting that agency staffers pushed leadership toward embracing informatics and data science. “Our employees said, ‘This is an emerging area and we have some interest in it,’ and the organization said, ‘We see a business case, so go for it.’” 

Not everything has to be about money, Winchester stresses. By way of example, he points to Oxford PharmaGenesis’ newly launched work in the policy arena.

Winchester says the company is eschewing the typical PR-driven process and focusing more on an evidence-based approach. To support the work, it launched the Oxford Health Policy Forum (OHPF), a nonprofit structured as a community interest company in the U.K. 

One of the forum’s first projects is a brain health initiative designed to help people with multiple sclerosis. The work is funded by multiple pharma companies through educational grants, run by OHPF and delivered by Oxford

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Work from outside pharma you admire…

I would never have imagined that something as simple as a spoon could get an upgrade. Gyroscopic self-stabilizing utensils are now available, which allow people with a hand tremor to feed themselves with minimal or no assistance. I imagine the loss of the ability to feed oneself must be devastating to one’s dignity and independence; these devices can restore this fundamental act of self-sufficiency and its attendant psychosocial benefits. — Winchester