Top 100 Agencies: The Navicor Group

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Work promoting the launch of Omontys
Work promoting the launch of Omontys

New work from core clients like Sigma Tau and OncoGeneX, and new accounts— such as global AOR for NanoString's breast cancer assay Prosigna—have led to big growth for The Navicor Group. Revenue last year was up 39% and headcount climbed from 48 to 73 for the Columbus, OH-based inVentiv agency.

“Our focus in oncology, and the value proposition that brings to clients, is really catching on,” says founder and president Garnett Dezember. “We truly believe in the old saying that you do well by doing good. Most Navicor employees have been touched in some way by cancer, but that experience helps drive our entire organization to do the best we can for our clients. Last year was indicative of that motivation coming through.”

Navicor's relationship with Sigma Tau grew to include professional AOR on leukemia products Oncaspar and DepCyt. Scope of work on a pipeline prostate cancer drug from OncoGeneX expanded. Teva Pharmaceuticals, a new client, awarded disease education project work for experimental cancer treatment Custirsen.

“Newer cancer treatments are becoming more individualized,” Dezember says. “This allows products to be more distinguished in the marketplace than in the old days of chemotherapy.”

Dezember reports ongoing growth in digital work, including social media, and that Navicor is increasingly integrating with inVentiv Health's Digital + Innovation group. “We're increasingly creating opportunities for patients to receive specific information at a more personal level,” Dezember says. “We're also producing dynamic opportunities for clients by delivering more interesting, interactive sales support and programs for meetings where they exhibit, such as the American Society of Clinical Oncology and the American Society of Hematology. We produced 17 client sales aids for the iPad last year. Digital is not part of what we do anymore—it is what we do.”

The agency made some impressive senior hires last year. Greg Niemczyk joined from AbelsonTaylor as SVP, director client services. Susan Yug, formerly of Euro RSCG, was hired as SVP, client services. Phil Storer, formerly of inVentiv sibling GSW Worldwide, was named VP digital strategist. Paul Weiss joined as VP creative director from CAHG, and Donna Baker was promoted to VP creative director.

Navicor's specialty expertise has made it attractive to clients with specialty products in a range of therapeutic areas. “Interestingly enough, remaining true to our oncology positioning can be challenging,” Dezember says. “Specialty focus on oncology has inherent value that transcends the therapeutic area. We often have opportunities in other specialty areas that are difficult to turn down, but positioning is a matter of focus.”

Navicor does work on products outside oncology. Omontys, an anemia treatment for patients with chronic kidney disease from Affymax and Takeda, is a an example. The agency was global AOR for the Omontys launch last year (it was recalled in March 2013 and is no longer being promoted).

“We'll continue to focus on our positioning in oncology and expand that into channels wherever needs exist—direct to patient support, industry support and other areas,” Dezember says.
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