The Top 40: Lowe Healthcare Worldwide

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As Sal Perreca, network chairman for Lowe Healthcare Worldwide, reflects on the past year at the agency, two words come to mind: “focused” and “satisfying.”

“We focus on giving [clients] great work by talented people,” Perreca says. “When clients are satisfied, they come back to us for more work.”

The Interpublic agency has been rewarded with double-digit growth, major initiatives accomplished by each of the major agencies and a growing reputation among clients for quality creative.

Perreca has helped maneuver resources to keep a personal face on accounts. That was the intent behind forming new agency Trio Communications last year.

Trio continues to service solely the three Ferring fertility brands it won in spring 2005: Bravelle, Menopur and Nuflexxa.

Steve Viviano, president of Integrated, the parent agency of Trio, says the spin-off is not yet in a new-business mode, although it could go after new clients this year having taken over a new space in Parsipanny, NJ.

“We're not looking to take Trio and grow it overnight to $20 million,” Viviano says. “Although we want to grow it, Ferring will be very much involved in how we do that.”

Integrated Communications
Integrated Communications, though, has been in growth mode. Year to date, this agency—the largest of the Lowe shops—has added 11 new pieces of business to its roster, including four from two new clients.

Those new clients are Smith & Nephew for Acticoat wound dressings and Johnson & Johnson's PriCara, the new primary care unit of Ortho-McNeil, which retained Integrated for antibiotics ceftobiporole and doripenem  and chronic pain drug Ultram ER. Integrated is doing promotional medical education for all four assignments.

The agency also started a new relationship with Respironics for the professional promotion on a device called Myneb.

After launching Bausch & Lomb's uveitis drug Retisert last year, the agency won three new B&L brands—prescription eyedrops Zylet, Alrex and Lotemax—which comprise most of that company's pharmaceutical portfolio.

“What I think is even  more important than a blockbuster brand is when a client...puts their most important franchise in our hands,” Viviano says of B&L.

Another existing client, Shire, handed Integrated a new experimental ADHD drug in phase III. The agency also worked on Adderall XR and on the launch of ADHD patch Daytrana.
Integrated rounded out the year with a pre-launch med-ed assignment for AstraZeneca's Symbicort and pre-launch promotional assignments on two Novartis cardiovascular products: high-blood-pressure drug Exforge and Rasilez, a once-daily oral renin inhibitor. Novartis has filed both with the FDA.

Recruiting continues to be a focus as well. The agency hired 50 people in the last 12 months, including Chet Moss, chief creative officer. The agency formalized a new structure of two groups, each headed by a creative team, reporting to Moss.

While it's still somewhat rare for clients to consolidate a brand's professional and consumer work into one agency holding company or network, Pace has proved an exception.

After the proprietary group within Barr Labs, Duramed Pharmaceuticals, awarded Pace professional and consumer business for extended cycle contraceptive Seasonale, Duramed did the same for its follow-on, Seasonique (scheduled for a July launch).

In 2006 Duramed decided that a contraceptive it recently purchased, Paragard IUD, should once again feature physician and consumer creative from Pace.

Consumer on several Lowe accounts is handled by IPG sibs Deutsch, Gotham and Alchemy. But Pace in 2005 formalized Pace ConsumerHealth, which operates as a division of creative directors within the agency, and re-launched Seasonale on TV last fall.

The agency recruited some top talent to service its Duramed business, hiring two veterans of the agency world at the SVP level to oversee consumer and professional creative, plus a new lead copywriter.

Growth from current clients helped push Pace to double-digit growth last year, according to Mary Cobb, Pace CEO and president.

Schering-Plough awarded Pace the consumer and professional assignments for Proventil HFA, a new formulation of the Proventil inhalation solution for bronchospasm.

And new client KaVo Dental, a German maker of oral surgery equipment, tapped Pace for professional promotion on two product lines. Pace also launched Pfizer's Revatio (sildenafil citrate for pulmonary arterial hypertension) to physicians.

On the downside, a couple of Pace's OTC switch accounts remain mired in red tape at the FDA— Pravachol and Plan B. And Wyeth's consumer healthcare group—transitioned to Pace after the Lowe Bozell McAdams closure—was lost to CommonHealth shop Carbon.

Interlink Healthcare Communications
Interlink Healthcare Communications this year launched a separate medical-education entity to execute promotional physician education programs. The unit, IneXel, is the latest addition to the IHC Group of Companies, a new corporate umbrella that also includes Interlink and a specialty graphics group.

Headed by Steve Palmisano, the non-accredited IneXel unit took its initial client roster from Interlink, including hypertension drug Avapro/Avalide and cancer drug Erbitux, both from Bristol-Myers Squibb, plus antidepressant patch Emsam.

In its first six months of operation, IneXel picked up several pieces of new business from Merck: pre-launch med ed for atherosclerosis compounds MK-524A and MK-524B, both of which are in Phase III clinical trials, and for type 2 diabetes drug Januvia, as well as promotional medical education for zoster vaccine Zostavax, which gained approval in May.

Interlink landed the interactive business from IneXel accounts Januvia and the two lipid compounds. The firm also planned the launch of a new multimedia group to execute these and other e-initiatives.

Demand for that group may be one outcome of what Larry Iaquinto, Interlink president, sees a return to “marketing mix efficiency,” a trend which seems to be coming back among his clients.
As for Interlink itself, the agency was named AOR for Oncaspar, a leukemia drug from Enzon Pharmaceuticals.

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