The Top 50: Regan Campbell Ward • McCann

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Regan Campbell Ward, the middle child of the McCann medical agencies, is celebrating its 10th anniversary with the realization of a long-sought prize—breaking into the primary care arena, thanks to two big GlaxoSmithKline wins.

The firm landed GSK’s lately controversial type 2 diabetes drug Avandia at the beginning of the year, and last month, added hypertension treatment Coreg to its portfolio. 

“We’re a relatively young agency, and this is a big milestone for us,” says partner Maureen Regan.

In addition, the company has picked up new assignments from Amgen, Allergan, Barrier, Matrixx Initiatives and Intel over the past year. The Allergan assignment, for Inamed’s Lap-Band laparoscopic obesity treatment, takes the agency beyond its portfolio of eyecare assignments with the company, which includes its prescription eye drop franchise (Restasis and Refresh Optive).
Intel, a major McCann client, tapped RCW for help with its patient management platforms. The sole sour note of recent months was the agency’s resignation of Bayer’s Nexavar.

The firm’s interactive shop, Medrageous, is “exploding” under the direction of Eugene Lee, says Regan, having doubled in the past year. Among other things, the specialty picked up the interactive business on Sepracor’s Brovana. That growth parallels a sharp uptick in patient management and education activity. “The exciting thing is that in that business, which was isolated, we’re now seeing integration across a variety of different disciplines,” Regan says.

The bicoastal firm’s San Diego shop, which now accounts for about 40% of its overall business, is booming under the leadership of Jeff Sweeney, recently promoted from managing director to president.

“Our West Coast operations have really been the growth engine for us,” says partner Brendan Ward, who notes that as a standalone shop, RCW West is one of the region’s biggest.

West Coast clients include: Amgen, with which RCW has two pre-launch assignments; Genentech, for Herceptin; Gilead, for which RCW handles Truvada DTP; Elan, for Tysabri; and Intel.

Former West Coast creative chief Dan Hassan was recently promoted to executive creative director, overseeing both offices. On the East Coast, RCW recruited Patrick O’Shea from Interpublic sibling Interlink to serve as director of client services in New York.

“We’re happy to be deeper into primary care, and having demonstrated our competence in oncology and optics, it’s nice to have accounts in hypertension and diabetes,” Ward says. Next on RCW’s wishlist: CNS, infectious diseases, cholesterol and cardiac arrhythmia.

And the West Coast business seems well-situated to continue growing, with the big biotechs overtaking some of their traditional pharma counterparts. Oncology and emerging categories are where many of the growth opportunities are, notes Regan.

“And of course, biotech is closely related to that, so our scientific expertise in those areas positions us well,” says Ward. “The theme for us now is to build the superstructure of the agency in terms of account services and creative to handle anything. In the past, people regarded us as more of a specialty shop, and now we’re a big, strong, talented organization that’s really poised to move further up.”
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