W2O Group boosts science focus in pharma comms with yet another buy

W2O Group rolls up acquisitions as it looks to help clients including pharma sales reps build up scientific knowledge and resources. (iStock/Getty Images)

W2O Group has added its third acquisition in just over a month. The group picked up digital technology creative agency Radius Digital Science most recently—after previously adding Europe-based ISO.health and Arcus Medica medical and science communications—as the agency looks to advance its science prowess.

With the buyouts come name changes: Radius will now be known as W2O radius, while ISO.health becomes W2O iso and Arcus is now W2O arcus.

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Jim Weiss, W2O Group CEO and founder, said the professional marketing roll-ups are part of W2O's plan to build out and bulk up the medical and science focus in its marketing communications platform. That kind of expertise is becoming more and more important as high-science drugs, like immuno-oncology and biologics products, flood the market.

“We’re focusing on online data-driven high science,” he said. “… The differentiation can come down to one strand of DNA and that’s what we have to help them understand and articulate elegantly in the market place because as you can see, a lot of companies are chasing the same areas, particularly in immunology and oncology.”

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The acquisitions come on the heels of an investment in W2O by New Mountain Capital in May. That followed a five-year deal with Mountaingate Capital in 2016 that ended earlier than expected when partnership targets were hit: W20 doubled revenue from just under $100 million annually in 2016 to anticipated sales of more than $200 million in 2019. W2O has also expanded personnel-wise, going from just 400 people to almost 800 employees.

Suzanne Jacobs, one of the co-founders of ISO.health who will continue in the leadership group at W2O iso, talked about the growing need for science and technical expertise in medical communications. More expensive and complicated drugs require high-knowledge sales reps and medical liaisons to convey the nuances or scientific details of products today.

“Pharma companies have huge teams that need scientific training and that really need to understand the drug because the interactions with healthcare professionals needs to add real value. It’s no longer going out to clinicians just for numbers and discussions; you’ve really got to add value because otherwise (HCPs) can just go on digital,” she said.