2e Creative

Evolution Medical Communications

Vitals: $19.0 million (up 32%), 64 employees

Why them?: Evolution grew its number of clients to 18 in 2016 — 12 AOR assignments and six project-based assignments — up from 13 in 2016 — eight AOR and five projects. Roster additions included brands from Shire, Eisai, and Ferring. Despite one high-profile subtraction — AstraZeneca, for Symbicort — Evolution still jumped revenue to just under $20 million. Its leadership anticipates more of the same in 2017; as of mid-April, the agency had added 20 employees to accommodate expected growth.

Abelson Taylor

Excitant Healthcare Advertising

Vitals: $815,000 (up 62%), eight employees

Why them?: Yes, it’s off a relatively small base, but a 62% revenue jump and 24% profit margin are not easily dismissed. The agency remains one of the industry’s best-regarded animal-health specialists, a positioning it further cemented during the year with a host of client additions. They included Prevention Pharmaceuticals for the Omax3 line of supplements and Zoetis for its PeopleFirst and ProfitSolver initiatives as well as a pair of its Witness diagnostic tests.


HYC Health

Vitals: $12 million (up 71%), 25 employees. Revenue figure and percentage are MM&M estimates

Why them?: HYC grew equally in size and stature during 2016, in part via the acquisition of well-regarded digital shop Merge. The firm also added UCB, Outcome Health, and MedComp Sciences to a client roster that already included Indiana University Health, Blue Cross Blue Shield, and a gaggle of Roche products. If it wasn’t on the Chicago-area shortlist before all this, it is now.

Area 23

Medical Minds

Vitals: $800,000 (down 43%), four employees

Why them?: Don’t let the revenue drop fool you, especially since it was slightly mitigated by a 3% profit margin: For Medical Minds, 2016 was a building year. In addition to its ongoing work with Intarcia, the agency bolstered its roster with three high-profile clients: the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Biotheranostics for the groundbreaking CancerTYPE ID breast-cancer diagnostic, and MyoKardia for MYK- 461, an oHCM treatment awarded an orphan-drug designation by the FDA in 2016.

Trolltunga Norway

Moddern Medical Services

Vitals: $600,000 (up 20%), three employees

Why them?: As of early June, Moddern’s website was still of the place-holder variety, promising that an upgrade would be “coming soon.” Given the company’s well-regarded work — its reputation outpaces its size — Moddern probably ought to get on that as quickly as possible. The year’s major roster addition was Ni-Q’s HDM Plus, an all-natural, calorically regulated human-donated milk for at-risk infants.

Avant Healthcare


Vitals: $4.8 million (up 79%), 20 employees

Why them?: Now that every healthcare agency bills itself as a “digital specialist,” it takes some sleuthing to determine which companies actually fit the description. Among smaller agencies, Escondido, California–based Motionstrand ranks high on that digital specialist list, owing to its work on behalf of both healthcare clients and consumer ones like Stone Brewing. It has grown in tandem with longtime client Avanir Pharmaceuticals, for which Motionstrand has served as digital AOR since 2012.

Beacon healthcare


Vitals: $4.1 million (up 22%), 30 employees

Why them?: Pascale had one of the most interesting years of any agency, big or small, on the client front. While it lost a handful of accounts, notably Clearside Biomedical and Halozyme Therapeutics, Pascale more than made up for the subtractions with a host of bigger-name additions — among them two Allergan brands (Xen and TrueTears) and an assignment from Lumenis’ surgical arm. Thirty-five percent of its growth came from new clients.



Vitals: $4.0 million (up 80%), 19 employees

Why them?: When the head of one large “digital” agency was asked where he’d direct a client that couldn’t afford his services, he immediately responded “QooQoo. I’d say that even if you took money out of the equation.” Clients such as Abbott, for which QooQoo worked on the iDesign system for Lasik surgery, tend to agree. Plus the agency receives high marks in the social realm.


Red House Healthcare Marketing

Vitals: $2.5 million (up 14%), 25 employees

Why them?: From its base in Alpharetta, Georgia — which lies just a bit outside the Boston/New Jersey/Philadelphia pharma corridor — Red House has accumulated an impressive and diverse client base, including Bayer, McKesson, Elsevier, the Mayo Clinic, and QuintilesIMS. In 2016, it expanded that base even further, adding device-world giants Medtronic and Edwards Lifesciences.