W2O Group has acquired Radius Digital Science, a New Jersey-based scientific, digital and creative communications agency.
The acquisition is part of W2O’s effort to build its medical and scientific communications team. Radius, which will be rebranded as W2O Radius, will add 25 staffers to that division. Radius cofounders Michelle Peterson and Brandon Pletsch will continue to lead the team and report to Kevin Johnson, president of W2O marketeching. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
The two agencies had worked together on a shared client, Pletsch said, which gave the teams a look inside both companies and cultures. Peterson particularly valued how W2O worked to retain and develop its employees.
"We have worked very hard for the success we’ve had," said Peterson. "For me personally, there was this romantic period where I thought we’ll stay this size and be able to thrive this way until we retire, but when you're successful, you have to grow to maintain it. When we were exploring ways to grow and grow well, W2O was appealing to me for how they retain people."
W2O finalized two other acquisitions this month. The agency bought medical and scientific comms firms Arcus Medica, based in Philadelphia, and ISO.health, based in London. In May, W2O received a private equity investment from New Mountain Capital.
Radius is planning to tap into W2O’s data analytics capabilities to better inform its work for clients. Joining up with W2O gives the agency access to insights and analytics services it would otherwise not have.
"The idea of partnering with an agency with a platform and expertise in analytics is only going to make our strategy stronger," Pletsch said. "Our offering itself is definitely going to be expanded. We’ve always been very strategic and have a deep bench of medical experts, but what we don't have is the ability to go out and get insights about the industry that's not just there on the surface."
W2O is also formalizing its scientific communications unit and branding it as W2O Science. This unit includes W2O’s existing medical and scientific comms staff along with all three of the agency’s recent acquisitions: Radius, ISO.health and Arcus Medica. There are about 100 employees in W2O Science.
"It’s important to have medical and scientific understanding, the capability to translate it and to help clients differentiate their molecule scientifically in highly competitive areas like immunology and oncology, where companies are chasing the same target patient types," said Jim Weiss, W2O CEO. "We’re moving not just in direction of marketers and communications people, we want to work more with [clients’] medical affairs and scientific folks and build a broader set of partners on the client side with this broader and deeper set of capabilities."
Radius was founded in 2013 and is based in Montclair, New Jersey. The agency specializes in bringing together digital, creative and complex science with capabilities to create medical illustrations, 3D animation, UX design, experiential media and creative for scientific meetings.
Radius has worked with clients including Bristol-Myers Squibb’s oncology unit, Allergan’s gastroenterology and psychiatry division and Eisai.
"In pharma and biotech marketing, it all comes back to the science and it comes back to the meaning of the science and the significance of the science and of new discoveries," Pletsch said. "In order to properly communicate that, you need strong scientific communication. It’s a brilliant move to build out this pillar, W2O Science, so that traditional PR and communications, analytics and advertising can work together with that foundation of scientific knowledge."