100 Agencies: Palio

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Mike Myers
Mike Myers

Palio's 28 wins helped drive both top and bottom line revenue increases for the inVentiv Health shop, with the top line ending up 15%.

“It was the best year financially we've ever had,” says president Mike Myers. “It felt like we were out of the dark days of the recession and running at a good pace.” 

The win list is laden with AOR assignments (12 managed market wins), and it includes two brand new clients—NextWave Pharma and Vertex.

Managed-markets AOR wins came in from Avanir Pharmaceuticals, Shire US, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Amylin Pharmaceuticals (three diabetes products), and Vertex (hep. C product Incivek). NextWave awarded AOR status (including managed-markets work) for blood pressure product Nexiclon and ADHD product Quillivant, and Endo Pharmaceuticals awarded AOR assignments on three pain products.


The agency pitched and won global AOR status for Gilead Sciences' HIV combination product Quad. Myers is excited to be a partner on Gilead's team and to be working on the global launch.

AOR status for Baxter's specialty therapies franchise and its Painfusor catheter was won in early 2011 and lost to consolidation in December. Ex-US work on Biogen Idec's BG-12 (MS) was lost when the business was consolidated with another agency that pitched and won the US business, but Palio still works on global PEG-IFN and global Avonex.

Digital work is done for all clients, and Myers emphasized internal digital training last year. He hired Hyper Island to conduct a Master Class with more than 50 of Palio's 118 full-time employees in Saratoga Springs, NY.

“Hyper Island helps organizations that aren't historically digital to transform the way they think and approach their business to provide the best client solutions possible,” he explains.

The agency bought iPads for all employees and an internal task force is working to ensure everyone can be connected without being tethered to a specific location.

“The iPad initiative and the connected initiative are all about building an organization that works with its people in a different manner,” Myers says. “If we're selling tech and digital connectivity between clients, brands and customers, we have to live it.”

To help foster general industry learning and conversation, Palio also built PharmApps.com, a wiki that allows viewers to comment on, review, rate, share and upload industry apps.

Seventeen new hires joined in 2011, and the agency expanded into a building next door. Bob Mason, EVP, brand strategy, and GM Dan Bobear both left to start their own gigs. Account services SVP Paul Johnson took on some of the GM role. VP Carl Turner now oversees insights and the brand strategy group.

Senior-level hires included Sacha Ward Schroeder, SVP, account services; Saul Morse, VP, multichannel integration; Joseph Ford, VP, insight and brand strategy; and VP, account directors Adam Kesselman and Mary Lee MacKichan, PhD.

“There's always competition for good people,” Myers says. “When the economy was poor, people were afraid to leave jobs. Now they're more willing to shop, and they're pickier.”

It's been a busy launch year as well—Amylin's Bydureon was launched and Gilead's Quad and ­NextWave's Quillivant are awaiting approval. The agency has also won brand new business, seen some organic growth and is pitching additional new business now. 
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