Analytics and digital specialist shop Closerlook has been acquired by privately owned network Fishawack Health. The sale of the Chicago-based agency, which closed on May 27, marked the second U.S.-based firm to be scooped up by Fishawack this year, following its purchase of Minneapolis’s StoneArch in January. Terms were not disclosed.

Closerlook will remain as an autonomous brand within Fishawack, supporting its own clients and serving as a digital and AI/advanced analytics hub for the network. Its management team, including CEO Dave Ormesher and COO/president John Sawyer, will remain in place, and there are no layoffs associated with the deal. Ormesher will report to Fishawack CEO Oliver Dennis. 

Analytics capabilities, like AI, are “integral” to launching and growing life science brands, moreso after the events of the past year, Dennis said in a statement. “The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the necessity of digital communication and the opportunities an omnichannel approach brings.”

Fishawack, focused on strategic consulting, medical communications and other commercial services for biopharma, meshes well with Closerlook, and the firms have little client overlap, Ormesher noted. Closerlook, for its part, saw a need to augment its own capabilities in the high-science, med-comms and pre-launch areas.

“Those were sectors that, while we were doing some of it, it was not core competence,” Ormesher explained.

Now, as a newly minted member of the Fishawack family, Closerlook “can pick up the phone and get an expert,” he continued. “For virtually every disease state we need help with, there’s someone at Fishawack with expertise. That will enable us to grow and expand our offering to our current clients, and already we’re seeing opportunities to come alongside Fishawack’s clients and support them with digital and data/analytics.”

Ormesher added that the decision was the culmination of nine months of work with an investment banker and “dozens” of meetings with investors from around the world.

Closerlook’s revenue jumped in 2020 to an MM+M-estimated $35 million, from 2019’s take of $24 million. The firm’s head count also rose, from 95 at the end of 2019 to 172 a year later.