MSabzali
CG Life founding partner Murad Sabzali

CG Life has acquired technical marketing and scientific communications agency McDay.

Acquisition talks began about a year ago, said CG Life founding partner Murad Sabzali and McDay president Susan Stipa. Together, the two agencies combine their expertise in and passion for scientific communication.

“In the world of communicating science and the commercialization of science in pharma and healthcare, there are not that many agencies out there that do what we do,” Sabzali said. “Many big healthcare agencies are doing great stuff in terms of launching major drug programs, but in the context of developing the drug, the discovery, preclinical, all the stuff that happens before the drug launch, that’s where we have the strength.”

McDay will retain its brand for now, said Stipa, adding “a CG Life agency” to its name. But she noted they’re open to rebranding the agency under the CG Life name in the future, depending on the market reaction.

Adding McDay brings on 17 new staff to CG Life and adds an office in Philadelphia to its roster. CG Life also has a presence in Chicago, San Diego and Denver. Financial details of the acquisition were not disclosed.

McDay was founded in 2006 and bought by Stipa in 2013. The agency provides marketing, PR and communications services for several sectors, including healthcare, pharma, chemical, technology, engineering and finance. 

For McDay, Stipa said joining forces with CG Life was “the perfect fit.” She remembered sparks flying during meetings between the two companies’ teams. Both Stipa and Sabzali said the culture played a huge role in the deal, they wanted to ensure the two teams would work together well.

“When these partnerships occur, you’re usually looking at filling in blanks,” Stipa said. “But this partnership is a matter of taking two strengths to create a greater strength. We talk the same language and, in today’s environment, a passion for helping scientists communicate is really important. It’s two companies with the same heart.” 

Sabzali said adding McDay’s expertise in brand strategy and campaign activation was important to his firm, along with bringing in its seasoned management team.

While the deal closed before the current coronavirus crisis emerged, the pandemic has not affected the integration or logistics, said Sabzali. The only challenge was deciding when to announce the news.

“From a media perspective, we were struggling as a team about is this the right time to make the announcement or is it going to get lost in the news,” Sabzali said. “Reporters and editors focused on what’s happening and the economic and financial impact. With all the things going on in the news, we didn’t know when it was going to be a good time, so we decided to make it a good time.”

In fact, as the two agencies began working together, they realized they have a roster of scientists and experts who are ideally suited to shed light on the pandemic.

“As we started to work together, we realized we have a resource and we have a client base perfectly suited to having conversations at a deep level,” Stipa said. “When we get questions from our editorial and client friends, we started to realize how valuable this is during this crisis. Probably one of the best client resources and information banks of any group, let alone any agency around.”