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The Pulse of the Pharmaceutical Industry

Compass Healthcare Marketers 2014

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

200 Princeton South Corporate Center, Suite 320
Ewing, NJ 08628
Telephone: 609-688-8440
Facsimile: 609-688-8399

Quick Facts

Account wins 3
Account losses 2
Accounts resigned 2
Active business clients 12
Services Mix  
Interactive and social media marketing 35%
Patient advocacy and engagement 25%
Patient positioning and campaign management 20%
Patient programs 20%

Client Roster

Actelion Pharmaceuticals US
Biogen Idec
Duchenne Alliance
Edimer Pharmaceuticals
Raptor Pharmaceuticals
Sarepta Therapeutics
Upsher-Smith Laboratories

The healthcare landscape is changing, and the value of patients is reaching a whole new level, say executives at Compass Healthcare Marketers. “With extensive experience in the rare disease and orphan drug market, Compass Healthcare Marketers is uniquely positioned to lead clients deep into the patient experience to maximize their marketing efforts,” these executives say.

According to leaders, Compass was established 10 years ago on one belief: to provide patients with better information so they can make better treatment decisions and have better health outcomes. “With this philosophy, Compass has formed strong partnerships with its clients in the rare disease space and has led the way to many brand successes by offering a unique mix of patient-focused capabilities that include patient community engagement, clinical trial recruitment, and patient education and support programs,” executives say.

The Year’s Accomplishments

With an eye toward the future of healthcare and proven expertise in orphan drug marketing, Peter H. Nalen, president and CEO of Compass, says he envisioned an entirely new agency model that leverages the agency’s unique capabilities to connect with patients and maximizes the value that the agency can deliver across all stages of the commercialization process. In 2013, Nalen restructured the agency to deliver on his vision. As a result, executives say, Compass expanded its expertise and services and enjoyed its best year ever from both a revenue and new business perspective – growing by 28 percent.

The first significant change to the agency structure was the addition of Sandi Bryant, an award-winning creative director who has developed and launched countless patient and healthcare professional campaigns for U.S. and global healthcare brands. Bryant joined the Compass leadership team in January 2013. Agency leaders say Bryant improved the creative services offerings and recruited some of the best talent in the industry to pull it through. As a result, Compass successfully led the branding and campaign development of four launch brands and several support and incentive programs last year.

Brad Aufderheide, VP of strategic solutions, joined Compass in February 2013 and enhanced the agency’s strategic services offerings by infusing behavior change models and health literacy expertise into patient marketing services and spearheading the development of brand positioning and meaningful compliance and persistence programs. “Under his leadership, the Patient Relationship Management group at Compass continued its growth and influence, successfully engaging with patient communities, advocacy groups, and individual patient influencers on behalf of clients,” executives say. “These relationships ensured the wildly successful launch of Procysbi for Raptor and the strategic development and execution of for Sarepta, which garnered industry recognition and praise and quick acceptance from the DMD community.”

According to executives, the final piece of the agency’s leadership puzzle was the addition of Paul Johnson as executive VP of client services. Johnson brings more than 20 years of experience in global integrated marketing, strategy development, and leadership to Compass. His expertise includes pharmaceutical marketing, team management, marketing operations management, business development, lifecycle planning, co-promotion management, and product launch planning. Johnson is responsible for managing account services and project management, ensuring the seamless integration of strategic account management with effective resource management for all clients.

The leadership team also welcomed Lisa Huff-Morales, director and finance controller, who is responsible for ensuring that all agency finances are as financially well-managed as they are strategically sound. Huff-Morales brings more than 10 years of agency financial experience to Compass. With her in-depth knowledge of agency and industry finances, Huff-Morales is partnering with Nalen to establish a new financial model that allows the company to make sound business decisions today and continue on the growth trajectory Peter has envisioned for the future.  

Compass welcomed several new clients in 2013 – including Questcor, Sarepta Therapeutics, and Biogen Idec – and established aggressive new business goals for 2014, executives say.

According to leaders, the agency reinforces its patient marketing thought leadership in the rare disease and orphan drug industry through its Innovation Lab event series. During the World Orphan Drug Congress in Washington, D.C., the agency hosted its 2nd annual Innovation Lab Great Orphan Drug Debate. Representatives from 14 biotech and pharmaceutical companies attended the dinner debate to watch the agency’s creative director and director of strategic services debate the value of patients vs physicians in the positioning of orphan drug brands, as well as representatives from MME debate pricing models.

In October, Compass also hosted its 7th Annual Innovation Lab One-Day Conference in Boston. Thought leaders and healthcare marketers from several companies gathered to discuss current challenges and real-world case studies that focused on lifecycle communication strategies for rare diseases and orphan drugs. This event inspired lively and thoughtful discussions and smart business solutions across all stages of the commercialization process.

Structure And Services

Through a unique “Patient First Marketing” approach, Compass offers comprehensive patient relationship and marketing services that are grounded in the knowledge that patients are now the most valuable targets to healthcare marketers, executives say.

“No longer is the physician the primary influencer of choice of medication,” Compass executives say. “We believe that, in this new healthcare landscape, marketers need to invest significantly more in programs and services that address the needs of patients rather than executing brands primarily from the healthcare provider perspective. Since patients are the primary recipient of the complete brand experience and, thanks to social media, can and will influence other patients, we focus on developing brands and programs based on patient insights and their holistic brand experiences to ensure brand success.”

Future Plans

“We will continue to expand our patient expertise and services and bring actionable insights and patient marketing solutions to our clients that reach and influence high-value patient targets,” executives say. “In addition, we will continue to enhance our presence in Boston to better support our growing roster of clients there.”


Through various activities, Compass raises and donates funds to several rare disease organizations, including NORD, Children’s R.A.R.E Disease Network, the Global Genes Project, Epilepsy Foundation, National Foundation for Ectodermal Dysplasia, MPS Society, Anchor House, as well as disaster relief efforts by GawadKalinga in the Philippines. In addition to individual volunteer and charitable efforts, the “Compatriots” at Compass volunteer and provide pro bono work for Womanspace, a charitable organization dedicated to supporting victims and spreading awareness of domestic violence and sexual assault in New Jersey, and for the California Food Bank. Nalen is also chairman of the David A. Nalen Foundation, a charitable organization created in the memory of his older brother who passed away after a seven-year battle with a rare form of cancer.

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