After Eversana completed its acquisition of Intouch Group in late 2021, the newly united company set a goal of surpassing the $400 million revenue mark. It didn’t take long to hit that figure: Eversana Intouch saw revenue surge to $416 million in 2023, up 7% from 2022’s take of $390 million. 

Faruk Capan, CEO of Eversana Intouch and chief innovation officer at Eversana, notes that while the 7% growth is relatively modest by the agency’s recent standards — the firm spiked 20% during 2022 — it represents a reason to celebrate in the current climate.

“We see that pharma clients are trying to be more efficient and worrying about budgets and head counts,” he explains. “Even with all the headwinds that everybody’s facing, we were still able to grow the organization.”

Reflecting a common trend among many agencies, Eversana Intouch managed to do more with less last year. Head count dropped from 1,875 at the end of 2022 to 1,729 at the end of 2023, though the agency bolstered its C-suite with the addition of former Syneos Health SVP Cortnee Scale as chief of staff.

As for the work itself, president, full-service agencies Angela Tenuta notes that Eversana Intouch made great strides with oncology clients during 2023. “Over a quarter of our business now is in the oncology category,” she reports. “We have come really far over the past decade. Where we were once David, we are now Goliath.”

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Tenuta is similarly bullish on Eversana Intouch’s DTC efforts, especially engagements with Teva (on Huntington’s disease chorea/tardive dyskinesia drug Austedo) and Lundbeck (on migraine drug Vyepti). Validation on the creative front came in the form of the company’s first Gold Pharma Lion at Cannes, for its Inequality You Can’t Ignore campaign, co-created with The Chrysalis Initiative. 

Eversana Intouch also turned its sights abroad during 2023, with the agency seeking to meet increasing client demand for global-scale coverage. “Almost every pitch that’s come in the door this year has been a global pitch,” Tenuta says. 

This, in turn, motivated what she calls the company’s “biggest move” of 2023: the acquisition of Healthware Group, an innovation consultancy headquartered in Salerno, Italy. As of April 2024, it operates as Eversana Intouch Healthware, with offices in Italy, Finland, the U.K. and the U.S.

“Gone are the days of siloed, inefficient operations and regional strategies with many different teams and different players,” Tenuta continues. “Our clients need a centralized global strategy and a centralized execution.”

A final area in which Eversana Intouch expanded its offering was medical communications, which SVP, client services, med-comms and events Jane Richter characterizes as “our fastest-growing specialty segment.” In 2023, the agency sought to globalize this practice in order to provide more consistency of communications for companies seeking scale.

“Clients are looking for one approach, from the U.S. to other parts of the world, to identify and engage KOLs for scientific exchange and educational programming,” Richter explains.

Capan agrees, then dons his chief innovation officer hat to focus attention on what has historically been Intouch’s calling card: its tech advances. Needless to say, AI was very much on the company’s mind during 2023.

“We doubled down on innovation and technology, because AI is changing how we can be better,” Capan explains.

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Not surprisingly, given its legacy, this did not take Eversana Intouch by surprise. “We saw the AI trends early on and, from day one, we were trying to invest in the area,” Capan continues. “But our biggest focus was always on use cases. What can we do to make our internal agency efficient and what can we do for our clients to be more efficient?”

To that end, Eversana Intouch is attempting to fuse the agency’s core digital ethos with innovations that will create a new way of working, especially as it pertains to content creation and delivery. One of those innovations is a new creative execution model — and while the company is not ready to announce its name, Capan says its potential is enormous.

Along those lines, Capan touts Eversana Intouch’s “big investment” in its modular omnichannel model, Eversana Orchestrate. “Right now, omnichannel is a very abused buzzword,” he acknowledges. “But we have built a simple solution where we can show clients that we can take their target and add a channel and a customer journey, then show them the outcome.”

Capan’s hopes for Eversana Orchestrate — and Eversana Intouch writ large — extend far beyond its omnichannel offering, of course.

“We do more than just marketing, advertising and messaging. We have patient support services, we have a consultancy, we have insurance support, we are doing the pricing and we can see the whole journey from a patient’s or doctor’s standpoint,” he explains. “If you ask me what I would like to fix in healthcare, I’d make the path from patient diagnosis to the correct treatment easier. With our Orchestrate engine, we’re trying to make that happen.”

Looking down the road, Eversana Intouch is figuring out how to navigate a landscape drastically altered by AI and evolving client expectations. Capan believes the company is more than up to the task.

“We need to do a lot of work in terms of educating and training, as well as accepting that this change is happening and then adjusting to it — but not simply because AI is the new shiny object,” he explains. “We truly need to find out what we can do to make our employees’ lives easier and we need to future-proof ourselves.

“It’s a big challenge: How we can be more efficient and, at the same time, make sure that we bring value to our clients?”

As AI starts to automate mundane tasks, Capan believes that Eversana Intouch’s people will be able to focus on what they do best. 

Similarly, he hopes that the agency’s clients will get the same quality and creative excellence they’ve come to expect, but delivered at scale, quickly and with a lower cost. 

“Yes, pharma pays our bills,” Capan says. “But if you don’t care about the patient journey and appreciate the value of doctors, you are in the wrong industry. So I’m excited about where we are headed. We’re going to be doing some innovative things.” 

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Work we wish we did

Oprah Winfrey’s ABC special on GLP-1s, Shame, Blame and the Weight Loss Revolution. The human-centered storytelling helped reshape and destigmatize perceptions of weight loss. During the broadcast, Winfrey shared her own journey with weight loss and brought out fellow patients, doctors and pharma executives. This culturally impactful work is exactly what pharma needs to shift approaches to chronic conditions. — John Kenny, EVP, managing director, strategic planning

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