W2O Group has acquired Philadelphia-based agency Arcus Medica.

The deal will add to W2O’s growing medical and scientific communications services. Arcus Medica will be rebranded as W2O Arcus, and the firm’s three cofounders, Mary Seideman, Stan Eapen and Jonathan Seideman, will continue to lead the agency.

Arcus had been in the market for a buyer, said Mary Seideman, partner at W2O Arcus, and once W2O came into the mix, it was a “clear decision,” she said.

“We have a similar shared vision about the importance of following the data to get to the right outcome,” said Jim Weiss, CEO of W2O. “For many clients, it’s about the importance of science and getting the science right. [Clients told us] the more you can add to your capability set around that, the more business we’ll give you and the more we will be partnering with you.”

As more complex medicines come to the market, like immunotherapy cancer drugs, having experts in medical and scientific communications is becoming even more important, Weiss added.

W2O had started to build a scientific practice, which is led by Ujwal Pyati, before the deal. With the addition of Arcus’ 25 staff, that group will have about 40 employees, including 16 doctoral-level experts.

Arcus Medica was founded six years ago by Mary Seideman, previously a physician; Jonathan Seideman, formerly a medical researcher; and Stan Eapen, who holds a PharmD. The three founders had worked in pharma and academics, but noticed that many agencies didn’t have expertise in medical and science comms.

“What we were seeing from other agencies did not delve into the science in a meaningful way,” Seideman said. “The science was not communicated to physicians and patients in a way that helped change the way they practice and the way they were treated. We created the firm to focus on the science, to translate technical information so it was meaningful to the lay person or the physician.”

The agencies did not disclose financial details of the acquisition. Weiss noted that W2O’s recent private equity investment from New Mountain Capital is helping the firm “more aggressively” pursue acquisitions like this and helping it to grow these offerings quickly.

W2O is planning to build on the medical and scientific comms team, Weiss said, with plans to add more staff, expand internationally and bring in more creative capabilities. 

“Something we know will never change is that the science has to be amazing and innovative and that it’s moving faster than ever,” Weiss said. “It’s an exciting time for the industry, as well as a challenge. If the science is well communicated and patients can understand the value, I think the industry has a very bright future.”