WeissComm Partners: Agency Business Report 2008

The firm met the goals outlined in its 2006 PRWeek Agency Business Report profile: To grow the pharma and device business and experience continued biotech growth.

Outlook
The firm met the goals outlined in its 2006 PRWeek Agency Business Report profile: To grow the pharma and device business and experience continued biotech growth. "I think we're most proud of continued growth in San Francisco and New York, and continued diversification of our business, particularly into medical devices," says chairman and CEO Jim Weiss.

Angela Pennington and Aimee Corso, two hires from medical device company Fisher House, have buoyed the firm's offering and reputation in that category, he adds.

In 2007, the agency also expanded its offering into health services and health information technology.

The agency plans to establish a "second brand" based in New Jersey, "whereby if there's a conflict, we can send a potential piece of business into an equally high-quality, similarly focused job," says Weiss.

"We came into our own in the pharma area," he adds, attributing much of the year's success to key business wins, some of which the agency can't yet divulge.

Staff

Headcount was 68 in 2007. Of 26 hires, 11 were senior, reinforcing the firm's senior-based
healthcare-specific model. Senior hires included CFO Tony Esposito, previously CFO at Ruder Finn; San Francisco MD Angela Pennington, formerly principal at MDMC Group; and senior associate Tim

Structural changes

WeissComm opened a Chicago office in June and plans to open a London office in the near future. The agency also intends to retain its strategic alliance with UK-based Resolute Communications to provide network affiliates throughout EMEA, Asia, and Latin America.

Practice areas
While focused largely on biotech, pharma, device and diagnostics, health services, and health information tech companies, the firm has seven key offerings: communications strategy, corporate communications, IR, product communications, media relations, advocacy group relations, and clinical trial recruitment.

Accounts

US wins included Alsius, Ardea Biosciences, BD Biosciences, BioCentury, Cyclacel Pharmaceuticals, EMD Serono/Pfizer Rebif, Emphasys Medical, Horizon Therapeutics, IDM Pharma, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, Lev Pharmaceuticals, Medtronic, Merck, Neurobiological Technologies, PEAK Surgical, Pfizer Lyrica US, Prestwick Pharmaceuticals, Prospects Therapeutics, Sirion Therapeutics, Targeted Genetics, VIA Pharmaceuticals, and Xtent. Global additions include The Medicines Company and Pfizer Macugen. At the end of 2007, 70% of the clients were on retainer, up from 65% in 2006.

Financial performance

The agency earned $13.03 million in revenue fees, up 77% for 2007, and $18.34 million in gross revenue, up 65% for 2007. Organic growth accounted for 48.8% and new business accounted for 51.2%.

Key facts
Principal: Jim Weiss, chairman and CEO
Ownership: Independent
Offices: Three - San Francisco, New York, and Chicago

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