Syneos Health, seeking scale in a fast-moving market, fuses ad agencies GSW and Palio

It’s another amalgam for Syneos Health. The newly named organization, created by the merger of inVentiv Health and INC Research, has combined its two large pharma and healthcare ad agencies—GSW and Palio—under one name, GSW.

Sonja Foster-Storch, president of GSW North America, will remain in that role, while Kim Johnson, president of Palio, will become president of GSW New York and Santa Monica.

Foster-Storch said the initial idea to marry the agencies came from Johnson and she quickly agreed that the idea made a lot of sense.

“We both had a lot of the same goals in trying to get to scale faster in a large, fast-moving market and at the same time trying to draw talented people in,” she said. “And we just kept coming across all these synergies. You’ll notice I’m very purposeful in talking about ‘fusing’ the agencies. This is not a corporate merger. This is not a merger for the sake of efficiencies.”

To that end, no employees will face the redundancy chopping block, and in fact, there are about two dozen open positions between the two agencies now operating as one GSW. The merger doubles the size of the agency to about 150 people, Foster-Storch said.

The two agencies have collectively handled more than 75 global brand launches for pharma clients, including 12 blockbusters. There were no pharma client conflicts between the two agencies and the combined list of clients now includes AbbVie, Adamas Pharmaceuticals, Amgen, Roche's Genentech and Eli Lilly.

As part of the effort, GSW will debut new branding next month, Foster-Storch said. It will keep the GSW name but get a new look and feel created by the creative directors to whom she handed control of the rebranding.

RELATED: INC Research/inVentiv Health rebrands as Syneos Health

InVentiv Health and INC Research merged in May, while the rebranded company Syneos Health officially launched early this month. The new name is meant to convey the synchronized operations of the two companies in clinical and commercial with the prefix “Syn,” while the second part of the word, “neo,” is meant to communicate its new approach to biopharma solutions.

"Our goal as leaders is to bring clinical in earlier, so we start talking about things from study design and before that, and then also where can they bring us in earlier, so we’re really working to forge that relationship," Foster-Storch said.