GENICOS, powered by Syneos Health, is a deeply experienced team of agency specialists who have devoted their careers to supporting oncology and complex-science launches in helping to bring innovative biopharma products to specialty health markets. The oncology-focused advertising and communications agency brings together many years of oncology launch leadership and expertise to the Syneos Health Communications family.
In August, Kara Giannecchini, senior director of events and custom content at MM+M, sat down with the GENICOS leadership team — Catherine Eschenbach, SVP, Direct of Client Services; Suzanne Goss, EVP, director of brand strategy; John Kirk, SVP, group creative director; Richard Veal, EVP, managing director; and J.D. Cassidy, president, Syneos Health Advertising, North America — to discuss what makes the agency different and their plans for the future.
Inspired by science
Veal kicked off the discussion by sharing that GENICOS is “uniquely built for launch excellence with oncology products and innovative biopharma manufacturers.” He continued, “our depth of experience with novel science products, and our expertise in launching new technology and therapeutic platforms, provides companies a clear brand advantage.” Eschenbach added that GENICOS pulled in “a lot of great talent who really have that background and that depth of experience” demanded to excel in oncology.
The name GENICOS itself is in “recognition of what we do from a scientific and technology standpoint,” Veal explained. Specifically, genic is “a recognition of the role genes play in identifying certain types of cancer; the suffix -os is “a profound appreciation of the goal to improve overall survival for cancer patients, which is always a gold standard in clinical research endpoints” and gen “is the root of Genesis, which is the beginning of all things, and a lot of times, our work is the genesis of a brand.”
At GENICOS, “our mission is always top-of-mind — we turn products into brands and patients into survivors so our name takes on an even deeper meaning for our team,” added Kirk.
Being part of Syneos Health, Cassidy said, “allows us to bring a unique depth of experience, resources and solutions to the table that goes much broader than an ad network can offer.” That means the team can draw upon “medical affairs experts, medical education experts, deployment solutions and what’s going on in the fields with doctors” to tackle the complexity of the science.
“The depth of resources we have available through Syneos Health keeps us current and constantly on the edge of a fast-moving industry in an accelerating, informational dynamic,” noted Eschenbach. Having worked at multiple agencies, Goss agreed that one of GENICOS’ advantages is its “network of experts in oncology” and its ability to “tap into resources that no other agency can promise the client.”
Leveraging healthcare for better solutions
The fact is that Syneos Health is “a healthcare company as opposed to a holding company,” Veal explained. That means 29,000 people are “committed to and intimate with the business of health” which helps to “advance every component of what GENICOS can do and bring to the table for clients.”
It also helps GENICOS “adapt as quickly as our clients need us to,” said Kirk. “We’re really charged from the top down to reach out to other parts of the organization for solutions and that allows us to help our commercial clients, clinical-stage organizations, and brand teams with unique needs perform at a higher level and have greater impact.”
At the heart of GENICOS is “a passion to build brands and businesses with our clients,” added Cassidy. “It’s not just brand building, it’s creative excellence coupled with an appreciation of the business and health.” By understanding oncology and behavioral science, Goss noted, the team can create “advertising that breaks through the infodemic” and solutions that are “simple and clear for the oncologist to understand who’s the right patient, what’s the right time and what can I expect.”
The key to successfully supporting brands is appreciating that clients “need us to be part of their organizations, embedded and flexible around the way that they are growing and building out their commercial models,” explained Veal. To Kirk, “the deep experience in the medical realm gives the creative team an advantage because everything we do is focused on science.” The first step in the creative process is to “dig deep into the science before we ever start to put pencil to paper.” Only then, he explained, can the team “understand what the patient’s facing and what’s happening in the markets.”
That type of “curiosity runs throughout GENICOS,” added Goss. “We never feel like we have the answer, but we know where to get it.” One way they do that is by “leveraging our medical strategists to make sure that everybody is as steeped in the knowledge and the science as they can be,” said Eschenbach. GENICOS team members have “on average 12 years of experience in oncology,” she added. “That’s the level of connectivity and passion behind what we bring.”
All of that expertise allows GENICOS to “work in over 50 tumor types, many of which have biomarkers driving the science.“ That means they “can translate insights and information from breast cancer to multiple myeloma,” Goss said. With “over 100 team members across three offices who have purposely driven their careers toward where we are today,” Veal explained, GENICOS can help “oncology product developers and other complex therapeutic innovators make a difference in the overall survival of patients.”
Delivering information that is needed
In an ever-changing market, science helps GENICOS stay on top of what is happening in oncology now as well as better understand the challenges ahead. Noting a “survey that showed oncologists want information delivered in seven seconds,” Goss emphasized the need to simplify communications “to ensure the seamless answering of questions, not just pushing of data.”
Both real-world data and the patient will play an even bigger role going forward, Kirk predicted. “Traditionally, data comes out of the clinical trial but the patients themselves are going to have a lot more impact on how the treatment paradigm happens for them,” he said. “Their experience is a huge thing.” This is another reason that when “we put programs together, we include the patient and the patient’s caregiving circle,” Eschenbach added. Care decisions about cancer are “made as a group in this space.”
The goal for an oncologist is “shared decision making,” explained Goss, and “a better informed patient means an easier shared decision conversation.” Which in turn, Kirk added, “leads to better adherence and ultimately hopefully a better patient experience.”
“The cancer patient has a very complex experience,” said Cassidy. “The ability to cut through that complexity is mission critical and our clients and the brands that we build with them are able to do that.” It’s important to remember that patients and oncologists “are humans, too,” and will “react to the right blend of rational versus emotional,” Kirk said. “It’s not only what you develop, but how and when you deliver it to them.”
At GENICOS, “everybody is on the same page as to what’s the problem that we’re trying to solve and what’s the solution that we’re trying to deliver,” concluded Veal. “That mindset and orientation fosters incredible collaboration between us and our client-partners.”