Atlanta-based Scout Health’s motto is “be brave.” That’s a sentiment that the growing agency wants its employees and its clients to take to heart.

In each of Scout’s offices, including its newest in One World Trade Center, staffers have been encouraged to share stories about their own bravery. “Our Be Brave walls feature everyone’s be-brave moment. People post pictures of themselves jumping on a jet ski or rappelling off a mountain, or they write about their philanthropic activities,” explains Scout principal and president, healthcare Raffi Siyahian.

The idea is that these acts of bravery mimic what Scout’s rare disease/orphan drug and other specialty pharma clients — and, of course, their patients — do on a day-to-day basis. Last year saw the agency double down on that strength. It formally partnered with Rare Expertise, a company that identifies and attempts to activate people with rare disorders.

Siyahian says the partnership should help Scout overcome one of its greatest challenges: finding innovative and constructive ways of more quickly moving patients from first symptoms through diagnosis and to appropriate treatment. “Our clients want to stay ahead. They are in the rare disease and specialty space, where diagnosis takes a very long time,” he explains. “Because we are a specialist in specialty pharma and rare disease, their expectation of us is that we can help them move things along.”

With the new partnership, Scout and Rare Expertise should be able to focus a wealth of experience on helping individuals suffering with undiagnosed illnesses and conditions find treatment. In theory, the partnership could also give a boost to educational efforts targeted at HCPs as well as to searches for appropriate patients for clinical trials.  

Scout added a handful of assignments during 2018, notably Retrophin for its cystinuria franchise. It lost one major engagement last year when Lundbeck’s Onfi, for the treatment of Lennox-Gastaut syndrome, went off-patent. Still, Siyahian says the fact that Scout served as AOR for so long — from pre-launch through commercialization through its final on-patent days — makes him proud. “That doesn’t happen very often,” he says.

Revenue was flat at $23 million, while head count declined from 120 people at the end of 2017 to 110 at the end of 2018. Notable additions to the Scout team included VP of digital strategy Ari Wexler (who arrived from HCB) and group creative director Rick Conrad (from AbelsonTaylor).

In the months ahead, look for Scout to pursue further collaboration with its sibling companies in the Stagwell Group network, which acquired the agency in 2017. “We’re atypical of other agency holding companies, which typically pit sister and brother companies against each other,” Siyahian explains. “We’re not like that. We can put together digital-first marketing that complements rather than competes with other agencies in our network. We’re always thinking of ways we can partner with them.”