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Revenue was flat at an MM&M-estimated $20 million


“We are excited to launch a new agency campaign that touts our mission of not just helping clients find their story, but helping them craft it”
— Kim Johnson


“We agencies are mastering technology together. Healthcare is personal and accessible — and, really, it’s everywhere”
— Kim Johnson

When we last spoke with Palio president Kim Johnson, she acknowledged her agency was in a state of transition. In March 2016, its Irvine, California, and Saratoga Springs, New York, offices were closed, with personnel and accounts relocated to Santa Monica and New York City, respectively. The agency cut 25 or so staffers in the process.

A year later, Johnson says the changes have reinvigorated Palio. “It was an opportunity to get closer to the talent and to the clients,” she says.

Since then, the agency has doubled the size of its Santa Monica office and occupied a third floor in parent inVentiv Health’s New York City headquarters. The centralization of Palio’s brainpower facilitated partnerships with sibling agencies offering PR, managed markets, and medical comms expertise. Revenue for 2016 was flat at an MM&M-estimated $20 million (MM&M re-evaluated its 2015 estimate to $20 million from $27 million).

While staff size slid a bit during 2016 — from 110 to 100 — Johnson reports the addition of a pair of substantial AOR clients on the West Coast, Adamas and Puma Biotechnology. Palio claimed AOR assignments for both: For Adamas it is working on an upcoming launch in Parkinson’s disease; for Puma, it is preparing for the launch of neratinib, to treat patients who have HER2+ metastatic breast cancer.

It’s been enlightening for our team to see what Celgene is doing to drive innovation and transformation. – Kim Johnson, president

Johnson points to inVentiv’s PR muscle as an invaluable resource, especially on the Adamas assignment.

“They have terrific relationships with patient advocates in Parkinson’s. Together, we are bringing a well-connected patient-engagement strategy,” she explains.

Other 2016 highlights were work on Abbott’s structural heart portfolio and collaboration with Grünenthal USA on the development of a campaign depicting the effects of opioid addiction on families. “Through the work, we learned about the terrible impact it has had in the U.S.,” Johnson says. In the immediate wake of the Grünenthal assignment, Palio has added pro bono work for the Drug Free America Foundation, which aims to reduce illegal drug use and curb addiction.

Finally, alongside inVentiv’s managed-markets team, Palio is supporting Celgene Oncology on an upcoming acute myeloid leukemia launch. As part of a broader effort, the firm has built both corporate and disease-education campaigns.

To support the new business, Palio added three VP, group account directors: Lisa Racioppo and Jeff Ziernicki are responsible for the Celgene push, while Bindhu Gopalan leads the Adamas assignment. Bryan Roman joined as SVP and director of technology. Jason Buchel, promoted from associate director to director of digital strategy, focuses on Celgene.

In other Celgene news, Palio has commenced work with Celgene’s iKU (Information, Knowledge, Utilization) division, which uses big data and technology to transform the way the company goes about its business.

“It’s been enlightening for our team to see what Celgene is doing to drive innovation and transformation,” Johnson says. To that end, Johnson notes that more than 50% of Palio’s work is in or around the digital realm, representing a 15% increase.