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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

CAHG 2014

Written by: | | Dated: Tuesday, April 1st, 2014

225 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60601
Telephone: 312-297-6700
Facsimile: 312-297-6701



 Quick Facts

Account wins 3
Active business clients 18
Brands by 2013 sales  
Brand-product accounts held 40
$25 million or less 1
$25 million – $50 million 1
$100 million – $500 million 8
$500 million to $1 billion 2
$1 billion or more  
Services Mix  
eMarketing and other interactive programming 35%
Sales force/collateral material 20%
Advertising and promotion – traditional media 15%
CRM    10%
Clinical trial management and recruitment 5%
Managed markets 5%
Market conditioning/monitoring and KOL development 5%
Studio services 5%

Client Roster

Alcon Laboratories
Bayer HealthCare
Bristol-Myers Squibb
OncoGenex Pharmaceuticals
Otsuka America Pharmaceutical

In 2013, CAHG continued to create award-winning campaigns for blockbuster brands in support of its mission to be the creative force behind the world’s most admired brands. CAHG is the only firm entrusted to serve as professional healthcare agency of record for both the largest-selling pharmaceutical brand in the United States – Otsuka America Pharmaceutical Inc.’s Abilify – and potentially the most successful pharmaceutical brand launch in history for Gilead Sciences’ Sovaldi. “At CAHG, we have a more than 50-year heritage building many of the most admired brands in the history of the healthcare industry,” says Scott Cotherman, president and CEO of CAHG and chairman of TBWA\WorldHealth. “2013 was yet another step forward for the agency in building upon our reputation for disrupting category conventions, delivering globally relevant and compelling creative campaigns, and deploying award-winning multichannel marketing solutions to support blockbuster brands.”

The Year’s Accomplishments

2013 was a year of significant launches for the company. In addition to Sovaldi, the agency launched AbilifyMaintena and Adempas. Sovaldi was recently approved in the United States and the European Union for the treatment of chronic hepatitis C infection. Besides delivering high cure rates and a shortened 12-week course of therapy for many patients, the drug represents the first ever all-oral regimen – with no need for interferon – in certain types of HCV infection. Globally, the launch campaign draws attention to the historic, transformative nature of the drug.

Executives say the U.S. uptake of Sovaldi was in record-breaking territory in its first month on the market, and the drug’s total prescription growth curve is nearly triple the rate of the previous most successful pharma brand launch. Publicly available sales projections from industry analysts vary from between $4 billion and $5 billion in the first year.

Continuing in its 12-plus year role as professional agency of record for Abilify, CAHG helped longtime client Otsuka propel the brand to its current status as the No. 1 pharmaceutical in the United States, achieving more than $6 billion in annual sales. Given its experience throughout the lifecycle of Abilify, CAHG was a natural choice to serve as the lead global and U.S. agency for AbilifyMaintena, a once-monthly long-acting injectable used to treat schizophrenia. This innovative product was the first launch to come from the newly formed alliance between Otsuka and Lundbeck.

On a global level, CAHG once again deployed the SPARK process in creating a launch campaign for AbilifyMaintena that leveraged the equity and recognition of the original formulation while clearly capturing the new product’s brand essence, executives say. Together with TBWA\WorldHealth affiliate TBWA\Paling Walters (London), CAHG provided a “seamless” approach to working with global, regional, and country-level stakeholders within Otsuka and Lundbeck to deliver strategic creative, messaging, and tactical executions, agency leaders say.

In October, CAHG helped to launch Adempas, Bayer’s novel therapy for pulmonary hypertension. Adempas is the first medication indicated for two different types of pulmonary hypertension. As with other existing therapies, Adempas treats pulmonary arterial hypertension, a common type of pulmonary hypertension. But Adempas is the first medication indicated to treat a less common but severe type of pulmonary hypertension called CTEPH. According to CAHG executives, in a debilitating disease state in which treatment continues to evolve, Adempas – with its unique mechanism of action – represents advancement in treatment for this devastating illness.

CAHG won several new accounts in 2013, among them Ferring Pharmaceuticals and Nora Therapeutics. In conjunction with TBWA\WorldHealth affiliate TBWA\Adelphi (Paris), CAHG was assigned with the launch of elobixibat, being studied for chronic idiopathic constipation, a difficult-to-diagnose disease with no known cause. For Nora Therapeutics, CAHG is recruiting for a Phase II study with infertility patients.

CAHG’s multichannel campaigns continued to win recognition within the industry. The agency brought home the silver MM&M Award for Alcon’s Durezol and had a feature in the PM360 Patient Innovation Special Issue for the Drops 101 patient web tool for Alcon. In addition, the agency took home five Awards of Excellence from the Rx Club.

In recognition of her creative leadership, Robin Shapiro, CAHG executive VP and chief creative officer, was named the chairperson of the Global Awards Advisory Board and Executive Jury. As chairperson, Shapiro is guiding the board and jury and, under her leadership, ensuring that the competition addresses the needs of the worldwide healthcare communications industry. “As the new chairperson, I will continue our commitment to improving the future of healthcare communications by helping to launch the Young Globals, a new award aimed at celebrating the work of emerging talent from the top portfolio schools and agencies around the world,” Shapiro says.

According to executives, stellar work, new clients and significant new product launches resulted in double-digit growth for CAHG in 2013. The agency opened a San Francisco office to better serve clients on the West Coast and expand its brand assignments.

CAHG’s Chicago office relocated to new space featuring an open floor plan that promotes collaboration and custom-built teams for clients. According to Cotherman, “Our new space has allowed for heightened collaboration and innovation by integrating the best talent for each brand from across our many practice disciplines. The new space design strategy has already resulted in greater connectivity among people, processes and resources.”

Structure And Services

Led by Cotherman and a four-person executive team, executives say CAHG delivers seamless multichannel marketing communications and business solutions for both new and established healthcare brands. According to these leaders, CAHG ensures clients stay relevant and connect with their customers amid the changing media landscape by continually adding new offerings.

Executives say a key focus in 2013 was the continued integration of digital talent into the agency, resulting in deeper expertise in content strategy, experience design, digital strategy, analytics, and technology applications. To enhance brand engagement, CAHG created an integrated digital strategy and intelligence group. By pairing digital strategy with analytics, CAHG helps maximize the brand experience along the entire customer journey. Additionally, in partnership with Omnicom Group affiliate Adelphi Communications, the agency deepened its expertise in market access through the addition of Johann Odermann as VP, managed markets consulting practice leader. Odermann will support the development of payer market strategies and communications programs across the agency’s global and local market accounts.

2013 also saw the continued success of CAHG’s many proprietary processes, including SPARK – which agency leaders characterize as a unique creative process that reinvents campaign development – and Disruption, the strategic methodology that challenges marketing conventions as a tool for change and an agent for growth. Last year, CAHG and its TBWA\WorldHealth affiliates collaborated with clients in numerous SPARK sessions and Disruption Workshops.

CAHG and Diaceutics formed a new specialty agency, Bioceutics, dedicated to accelerating the promise of personalized healthcare. The new agency combines the global brand-building capabilities of CAHG with the consulting and software expertise provided by Diaceutics, to develop communication strategies and educational and marketing campaigns specific to personalized healthcare. The new venture builds upon CAHG’s investment in personalized healthcare, for which Med Ad News bestowed its Vision Award in 2011 given to the agency with the idea, concept, or initiative that best exemplifies the healthcare agency of the future.

Additionally, with Omnicom affiliate Zócalo Group – specialists in social media and word-of-mouth marketing – CAHG launched a new service called WellCounsel. The WellCounsel offering provides innovative approaches to enhance experiences and engage audiences.


For more than 50 years, CAHG has had an ongoing commitment to helping others through philanthropic engagement. Executives say nowhere is this more evident than the agency’s planned investment in Room 13, a not-for-profit initiative created by TBWA and present in many cities around the world. Room 13 promotes community-based arts projects for disadvantaged people worldwide. The program disrupts the core convention focused on one-to-one counseling, supporting the idea that communities are an integral part of healing. Through the Frank J. Corbett Foundation, CAHG has committed seed money to start a healthcare-specific Room 13 program to serve residents in cities where it operates, notably Chicago, New York, and San Francisco. The new program will create community-based arts projects for children and adults with mental health and central nervous system disabilities, among others. In addition to the start-up funds, CAHG staff will volunteer their time to support Room 13 initiatives through the agency’s Charity Days program in 2014.

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