Revenue increased 7% to an MM&M-estimated $77.5 million
“We will increase our footprint in the analytics space, which provides a great validation of our other offerings”
“The drug-pricing issue is not going to go away anytime soon. Pharma companies will want to prove the value of every dollar they spend”
An intense political environment and high-profile discussions around hot-button health issues have made for a busy season on the problem-solving front for inVentiv Health PR Group.
“It’s been a really dynamic year,” says U.S. president Jeanine O’Kane. “Media is moving quickly and there seems to be more pharma clients with reputation challenges. That, along with pricing issues, have made it an interesting time for us.”
The group — which includes Allidura Consumer, Biosector 2, Chamberlain Healthcare PR, and Chandler Chicco Agency — posted a 7% increase in U.S. revenue, to an estimated $77.5 million, on the back of 23 new accounts and solid organic growth. Likewise, U.S. staff jumped from 263 to 270, with an additional 130 or so globally.
“We staff very senior on the teams, so a senior leader can find opportunities for both clients and employees. It impacts so much of our culture and the way we do business,” notes O’Kane, reporting that the group had “incredibly low” turnover.
What’s interesting is the group’s continuing evolution in terms of the services it offers. It was already seeing more corporate-relations engagements. In 2016, that extended to internal communications.
“Clients are looking to utilize the power of their employees,” O’Kane explains. “We almost can’t keep up with the requests.” Client mainstays include Pfizer, Eli Lilly, Boston Scientific, Acadia, PaxVax, Sage Therapeutics, and Sunovion.
Unsurprisingly, inVentiv Health PR has done more than its share of work in and around pricing-related issues. “Not a day goes by when you don’t see it in the news,” O’Kane says. “We have been helping clients figure out how to own the story about the value of drugs and navigate this incredibly tough environment while protecting their reputations and making sure patients have access to their medicines.”
Rare-disease work remains a mainstay, as does clinical trial recruitment. “There are a ton of challenges around recruiting patients,” O’Kane continues. “We’ve been able to tie in some of the other disciplines to help understand why patients do not stay in trials.”
Underpinning all the work has been an increased focus on data science and analytics. To accommodate it, inVentiv Health Communications Group launched a dedicated practice last year, led by Patrick Richard, to work across its agencies.
“We are seeing real pressure to make sure every dollar is accounted for,” O’Kane says. “Companies need to be able to engage specific audiences with specific messages. Everybody talks about big data, but the sophistication is really accelerating that.”
At the same time, O’Kane will not allow the group to shift too far away from its creative heritage. “Now that we have this very scientific point of view, we will push our clients and ourselves to keep creativity alive. That’s an important part of the formula,” she says.
The inVentiv organization’s resources allow the PR group to shape sophisticated programs. But O’Kane stresses there’s more to it than simply tapping into the network.
“We live by this idea of finding great solutions, but every solution is different and it’s not just about bringing others to the table. It’s much more strategic than that,” she says. “Value and pricing are great examples of how we work with our managed markets group, our consulting group, and others to offer a dynamic solution.