The Top 75: Flashpoint Medica

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It was another big year for Flashpoint Medica, a member of Omnicom Diversified Agency Services. Revenue increased 53% in 2009 following on 35% and 65% increases the previous two years. Headcount jumped from 60 in 2008 to 70 last year, and it's currently up to 75. A San Francisco office opened last spring and a second New York City office opened in SoHo on April 1, 2010.

“It was an energizing year,” says co-president and managing partner Charlene Prounis. “Extraordinary growth in a very downturn year is big.”

Revenue more than doubled for Flashflight Interactive. Co-president and managing partner Risa Bernstein says all clients have integrated digital and agencies must be “visionary on the digital front” to succeed.

“We've made a continued investment in digital,” Bernstein adds. “It's totally integrated, and we're training our entire account staff in being much more digitally savvy.”

Also doubling revenue last year was the med ed group, a separate operating division now named Lumenon Medica and housed at the SoHo office. The partners note that a lot of med ed work is digital, and they've seen many RFPs for both together.

Overall growth was propelled by what Bernstein calls “a healthy balance” between organic growth and new client wins. Last year's wins included an AOR assignment for Acorda Therapeutics' multiple sclerosis agent Ampyra, as well as an AOR win for Genentech's patient marketing group and its commercial strategy group. Promotional education projects were also awarded for Genentech's Actemra (rheumatoid arthritis) and Rituxan (for treatment of non-Hodgkin's lymphoma).

After Omnicom's win of the consolidated Johnson & Johnson Medical Diagnostics and Device business, Flashpoint Medica won the global rebrand of Cypher stent; AOR status for Nevo stent (a new stent set to launch worldwide later in 2010); and AOR status for Biosense Webster (cardiac ablation).

“It's a different world [compared to] when there were big mega brand blockbusters,” Bernstein says. “A lot of growth is in higher specialty business. Those accounts aren't as huge in revenue, yet they're so demanding of senior thinking, both strategically and scientifically. Making all that work from a business and talent standpoint is a new challenge agencies face. Doing it well is a road to success. Agencies that are doing it well are relishing the success, but it's not easy.”

Success has generated plenty of excitement internally and has helped attract strong talent. Joining last year were Peter Niemi, director of digital strategy, and Paul Chang, PhD, director of scientific services. Laura Carlson was promoted to VP, director of client services for the med ed division. Frances Misenas was hired as SVP, management supervisor, early this year in the San Francisco office. The agency is still hiring, and Prounis says it's challenging—particularly to find great copywriters and strong senior account people. “With such tremendous growth you want to ensure the culture continues,” she adds.

Bernstein notes that the agency is deeply committed to both developing talent and to giving back. She's also proud to report that Prounis won the 2010 HBA Star Volunteer award.

Revenue is up 20% this year, driven by new wins from Angiotech, Biovex and LifeCell. The agency landed an AOR assignment from Crescendo Bioscience. The partners expect to see more activity from diagnostic biomarker companies as personalized medicine continues to come to the forefront.
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