100 Agencies: Saatchi & Saatchi Science

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Annemarie Armstrong
Annemarie Armstrong

Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Innovations, the company's specialty pharma-focused agency, got a new name in May, rebranding as Saatchi & Saatchi Science.

“The agency that was Saatchi & Saatchi Healthcare Innovations had more breadth and less specialization,” says managing director Annemarie Armstrong. “So what's different about this is a very clear and specific focus on differentiating and growing brands in complex, high science specialty categories.”

The Yardley, PA-based Saatchi satellite is focusing  on oncology, molecular medicine, immunology and vaccines—areas which Armstrong says “require a real deep understanding of the markets, of the therapeutic categories, of the competitive landscape.”

Business-wise, the firm had a “solid year” in 2011, says Armstrong. The shop added to its oncology roster, winning agency-of record responsibilities for AstraZeneca's Faslodex, for metastatic breast cancer. It also launched a multi-channel global professional campaign for Torisel, Pfizer's mTor inhibitor for metatstatic renal cell carcinoma. That effort focused on the importance of determining prognostic risk for patients with advanced stages of the disease.


Saatchi Science's bread and butter is professional promotion, but the shop does some direct-to-patient, says Armstrong, “in the context of the physician or the professional-patient dialogue.”

Another new account won in 2011 was the American Veterinarian Medicine Association business around animal health and preventative healthcare for companion animals. They didn't lose any business.

On the vaccines side, Saatchi Science holds the professional business for Sanofi Pasteur, and launched a new campaign for Fluzone High Dose last year—aimed at communicating that patients 65 and over have different immune systems than younger patients and therefore need a different type of flu shot—along with the launch campaign for Fluzone Intradermal.

As for the other planks of the shop's therapeutic mix—immunology, molecular medicine—“those are part of our ‘go forward' strategy,” says Armstrong, “areas where we have an expertise that we would like to leverage.

Armstrong was named managing director a year ago, having served as EVP, director of account leadership. In other personnel news, the shop named new co-leaders for creative, with Margaret Harris becoming VP, creative director for copy and Josh Tumelty VP, creative director for art. Harris brings a science background to the creative department, Tumelty brings expertise in digital marketing. Melanie Genter, who heads the firm's Sanofi Pasteur portfolio, was promoted to SVP management supervisor and joined the shop's management team.

“We've added talent with diversified and versatile skills,” says Armstrong, “people who are strategic and creative thinkers who can create and manage integrated programs across all channels and do it in some very complex categories like oncology and vaccines.”

Headcount, at around 60, is up a click over last year, as the shop brought freelancers on board as permanent hires.

They've got room to expand, having moved into new offices last year.

“It's an open floor plan, which was by design, so that we can just collaborate across functions,” says Armstrong about the new offices. “We want to ensure that we're bringing a complete integrated solution, and the floor plan really fosters that integrated approach across account planning, creative and medical project management.”

In a challenging environment, complacency is the enemy for agencies like Saatchi Science, says Armstrong.

“The challenge is being comfortable with change and not to get tired by it,” she says. “The transformation of pharmaceutical and healthcare industries is not over, and as these industries continue to transform, so must we.”
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