H4B Catapult

Having been newly ensconced in Havas’s H4B network, which was established to handle conflicts with Euro RSCG Life, Hamilton, NJ-based Catapult wound up having a very busy year in 2011.

The five-year-old digital shop, boasting a staff of 160, has rebounded from the loss of its biggest account, Lovenox, last year due to patent expiry, with a slew of new wins and double-digit growth, building a growing managed markets access practice and hanging out a shingle in Boston. It’s a good thing they’ve got room to grow; they moved into a 27,000-square-foot office space last year.

The shop landed business on a “major MS drug” from Genzyme, along with several new accounts from Genzyme owner Sanofi, in bio-surgery and oncology (semuloparin). All of that activity might have something to do with the soon-to-open Catapult Back Bay office. There were no account losses, according to president Jeff Hoffman, but the agency declined to renew its contract with Aetna’s Active Health Management unit, which needed a more consumer-focused shop.


Catapult’s client roster includes 31 brands from 14 companies. Around half of the firm’s business is in professional promotion, with another 19% coming from digital, 18% from managed markets and 15% from medical communications.

Managed market access is a major growth area for the firm, which recently landed the managed markets business for Ariad. Catapult also just launched a unit called Sciterion, which handles regulatory affairs for pre-market commercialization. Catapult’s innovation group has been cranking out interesting projects, including a mobile app for people who live in areas known as “food deserts” due to their lack of supermarkets and greenmarkets; a remote patient-monitoring platform; and a project around virtual pain distraction. It’s all part of the agency’s efforts to realize 30% of revenues from non-drug sources by 2015.

“We have to diversify,” says Hoffman. “With the patent cliff, we have to get more into health and wellness. I think we have to look at non-pill solutions that are going to help drive pharma sales.”

The shop has beefed up its creative department by 50% over the past year while rolling out new work for Bayer and Nautilus’s Cambria migraine treatment, along with the re-launch of a new indication for Prevnar 13 in adults 50 and up. Campaigns in the works include global work for Sanofi’s Synvisc-One and for a Genzyme MS drug.

Novartis, which has a decent chunk of cardiovascular business at Catapult, continues to be a key client.

Notable hires last year include: Judy Devoti, MS, PhD, as scientific director; Kami Fuhrman and Derick Sumrall as VP, associate creative directors; John Hennigan and Steve Kreshover as SVP, management supervisor; Tracy Mills as practice leader for market development; and Khawar Khokhar as practice leader for market access.

“Having now fully replaced the Lovenox business, the agency is extremely healthy,” says Hoffman. “We’ve continued to manage the diversity of the mix of business that keeps coming into our door, and we’re capitalizing on the full unification model. The most interesting thing is, regardless of where the entry point is, at the end of a year, new clients are using most of our practices. Even if we went in just with managed markets, what we’ve found is that a year later, they’re using us for everything.”