Prior to last year, Spectrum Science had never acquired another organization. That changed in a hurry starting in June 2022, when the agency completed the first two of its three acquisitions, all of which closed before the end of the summer. The deals brought Sonic Health, the Seismic Collaborative and Aurora Healthcare Communications under the Spectrum umbrella.
According to Spectrum president Michelle Gross, the acquisitions presented both a challenge and an opportunity.
“It was the most interesting and crazy experience I’ve had in my professional life,” she recalls. “We decided to do three deals and we did them all at the same time, which meant integrating and inserting capabilities into our existing framework to get us closer to the vision of what we wanted to achieve.”
Spectrum’s revenue jumped 54% in 2022, from $48.9 million in 2021 to $75 million, and the acquisitions clearly played a role in that growth. They also opened up new relationships.
By way of example, Gross notes that one of Sonic’s clients wanted advertising support, which the company might not have been able to provide without tapping into the resources of its new parent. “We ended up bringing in a nice piece of promotional business,” she says. “Through all three of these acquisitions, we see an exponential growth happen with their existing clients.”
Spectrum’s growth was also fueled by the ongoing diversification of its business. When it was founded, the agency confined itself to PR. Over the past several years, CEO Jonathan Wilson notes, it has bulked up its offering to include medical communications, advertising and clinical trial recruitment.
The agency has also expanded into the software realm with TrialBlazer, which launched in February. The platform is designed to facilitate participation in clinical research, from pretrial prep work all the way through to randomization.
Gross highlights clinical trial recruitment work the agency has done for Moderna and notes that it recently added Jazz Pharmaceuticals for a similar range of activity. “We’re looking forward to seeing it flourish the same way that Moderna did,” she says. Other recent additions to the Spectrum roster include Ipsen, Vertex Pharmaceuticals, BeiGene, Gaia Herbs and Arcus Biosciences.
As for notable client work from 2022, Gross points to a campaign for Horizon Therapeutics, NMOSD Won’t Stop Me. Designed to raise awareness of neuromyelitis optica spectrum disorder, a rare inflammatory disease that can affect the optic nerves, spinal cord and brain, the effort included a partnership with Christine Ha, who became the first blind contestant on MasterChef.
Staff size ballooned from 177 at the end of 2021 to 303 a year later. Key additions included chief science officer Chetan Vijayvergiya, who joined from Moon Rabbit, and COO Paul Russell, from McCann Health New Jersey.
Looking toward the future, Wilson is banking on the company’s recent deal with PE firm Knox Lane to propel further growth — and likely additional acquisitions.
“We laid out our vision of what we were building in 2018, and we’re continuing to build toward it,” he says.
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Our marketing role model…
Albert Einstein, a nontraditional scientific marketing phenom who used his expertise and creativity to explain complex theories in an accessible manner while simultaneously building a distinctive personal brand. Beyond his scientific contributions, Einstein used his platform to advocate for social justice and speak out against the mistreatment of others, unafraid of what people thought about him and his involvement in world events outside of physics. His love of science and his heart for doing the right thing is a model we strive to emulate. — Wilson