Omnicom PR Group forms alliance with LaVoieHealthScience

The move will help OPRG target the healthcare startup space.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

BOSTON: Omnicom Public Relations Group has entered an alliance with LaVoieHealthScience, a Boston-based investor relations and PR shop. 

The two groups previously worked together for one year.

LaVoieHealthScience will benefit from the scale of the 14 OPRG agencies working in the health space, and OPRG will be drawing on the smaller agency’s experience in health-related investor relations, financial communications and development-stage health and science innovation, according to a statement from OPRG.

Specifically, the alliance is intended to help OPRG target the healthcare startup space. In the statement, OPRG’s global health business leader Paul George said that working with LaVoieHealthScience means OPRG Health can now provide a "full suite" of comms offerings from "Series A through IPO, product commercialization and beyond."

George, who has been leading healthcare efforts for OPRG since 2017, declined to provide the specific terms of the agreement. He said it allows the two firms to share client referrals, marketing resources and new business development opportunities.

There have been no staffing or other logistical changes as a result of the agreement. However, George noted that the agencies are "open to potential co-location in the future, but [have] no immediate plans as of now." 

When asked if the alliance is a test run for OPRG buying LaVoieHealthScience, he said that OPRG does "not have any acquisition plans at this time." 

George said that OPRG agencies are currently working with LaVoieHealthScience for an unspecified number of clients, "especially in Massachusetts, the biotech hub." He said confidentiality agreements prevent him from naming the companies and added that there are no client conflicts.

The release announcing the deal was the first instance of OPRG referring to its 14 healthcare agencies as OPRG Health. George said the name allows OPRG to market those agencies under a "unified banner," but explained that the holding company is not currently planning to create a formal OPRG Health structure. 

OPRG Health agencies include CLS Strategies, Cone, Daggerwing Group, FleishmanHillard, Inspired Science, Ketchum, Maslansky + Partners, Mercury, Marina Maher Communications, Porter Novelli, Portland, Rabin Martin, RXMosaic and TogoRun.

The news of the alliance comes in the wake of a series of leadership changes at OPRG and its agencies. In early December 2019, OPRG announced that its CEO Karen van Bergen would be leaving that role to become dean of Omnicom University

The holding company named John Doolittle, president of DAS Group of Companies, to fill in while it looks for her replacement. Van Bergen started in her new role on January 1.

Shortly after that news, OPRG announced that Brad MacAfee, CEO of OPRG agency Porter Novelli, would be leaving the company. And in October, Porter Novelli eliminated the role of global president Jennifer Swint.

OPRG’s PR firms reported that organic revenue decreased 3.8% in Q3 to $337.2 million. Revenue for the holding company as a whole was up 2.2% organically to $3.6 billion, compared with Q3 2018.

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