The Access Group: 2017
The Access Group
400 Connell Drive, 2nd Floor
Berkeley Heights, NJ 07922
Whether engaged in the development of payer market solutions for orphan drugs or in-line medicines, agency leaders say The Access Group remained uniquely positioned in 2016 to support the world’s leading biopharmaceutical companies in maximizing their products’ access to key stakeholders, from patients to physicians to payers.
The Year’s Accomplishments
According to network CEO Eric Bishea, 2016 was a year of transformation and growth. The Access Group added 49 new accounts and 26 new clients. In addition, the agency continued to invest in population health, growing the depth of its relationships with world-renowned institutions to achieve access to unparalleled resources for its clients. The Access Group continues to partner with various payer organizations such as the Academy of Managed Care Pharmacy, Asembia, and the National Association of Managed Care Pharmacy, which has put its clients in top promotional positions with these industry-leading organizations, executives say.
Bioeclipse and FronTier Managed Markets, the two full-service entities launched in 2014, continued their growth last year, adding new agency-of-record assignments and specialized staff to keep pace with the demands of an expanding client base, executives say. Mike Webster, managing partner and Bioeclipse lead, says, “Our client base is a dynamic mix of specialty pharma products, orphan drugs, and transformative medicines. Bioeclipse has secured numerous launches in therapeutic areas of high unmet need for products with unique delivery systems or medicines designed to make the payer system more cost efficient while improving overall quality.”
Seth Gordon, managing partner and FronTier lead, adds, “Our growth at FronTier continues to expand, with an increased interest from our clients who want to maximize reimbursement opportunities from novel oncolytics to therapeutic portfolios. Our clients want to understand payer rules, keep up with changes to those rules, and stay ahead of policy adjustments.”
Promidian, the network’s management consulting division, saw significant growth in 2016, executives say. The division has grown its work with novel and high-profile oncology and specialty drugs, including strategy for products in development, launch products, in-line brands, and portfolio expansion. Promidian’s analytical prowess is becoming recognized throughout the industry, with robust analytics to support clients’ decision-making, leading the way as one of the division’s core offerings.
“Promidian offers its clients a window into the rapidly evolving marketplace,” says Kevin Barnett, managing partner and Promidian lead. “We bring our clients insights into forecasting shifts in health policy and payment and care delivery models that will impact their market positioning.”
Leveraging the growing digital expertise of the network, MedAccess highlighted 2016 with a noteworthy increase in revenue, but also with an innovative and interactive approach to addressing the evolving needs of its clientele. “We are seeing an increased focus on designing and delivering engaging patient advocacy platforms. Increasingly, the patient voice is more prominent in directing their health care,” says Leana Wood, managing partner and MedAccess lead. “Helping clients understand and assist in the patient journey to optimize outcomes is a key differentiator for MedAccess.”
The division’s work excelled in the development of patient loyalty programs that drive conversion and retention for its clients’ brands. “Utilizing innovative digital tools has enhanced the peer-to-peer educational exchange experience,” Wood says. “Real-time data collection provides brand managers guidance as to the education needs and desires of their target physicians.”
The Access Group continues to be acknowledged as a leader in the industry, executives say. For the fourth year in a row, The Access Group was recognized by a major national industry publication in its top 100 agencies list. Additionally, the network won several awards for its creative work in 2016.
Last year, The Access Group’s Oncology Business Unit was recognized by PM360 as one of the most innovative divisions of 2016. “The number of promising candidates for cancer therapy is at a staggering all-time high,” says Jeffrey Gruenglas, executive VP.
The unit boasts a dedicated team of oncology industry experts from backgrounds in policy, research, and cancer institutions who collaborate on the identification of key trends within the expanding marketplace. “The Oncology Business Unit helps navigate the evolving oncology landscape,” Gruenglas says. “With the rush of new technology and science has come new terrain and questions for the Food and Drug Administration, policy makers, managed care organizations, providers, and patients.”
The Oncology Business Unit applies proprietary models and tools to convert large amounts of practice and adoption pattern data into actionable insights. Since its debut, the Oncology Business Unit has expanded its oncology partnerships and engagements nearly 10-fold, as measured by the number of tumor types, indications, product launches, and treatment modalities, executives say.
Also, The Access Group’s Government Policy Systems (GPS) division has expanded its expertise and offerings as a result of increasing customer demands. Like the rest of the industry, GPS witnessed the significant amount of instability that resulted from the presidential election. By moving those observations to action in 2017 during a time of significant transition, the division will continue to offer solutions to help clients address policy landscape changes, treatment adherence programs, the impact of MACRA, and population health challenges, executives say. To keep the network and its clients in the know, the Clinical and GPS teams at The Access Group have produced more than 500 publications, with an average of four articles published each month, in addition to regular columns and textbook chapters.
Structure & Services
“The uniqueness that really sets The Access Group apart is our people,” Bishea says. “Our team has got to be one of the most experienced in the industry.” He highlights the network’s 130 health care marketing specialists, consultants, award-winning creatives, and senior leaders with experience in management consulting, brand promotion, marketing communications, managed markets, medical education, and training.
To keep up with the unprecedented pace of growth in government policy, oncology, and novel therapeutic business opportunities, executives say The Access Group has added some industry leaders in key management positions across the network, including experienced client services directors and several content and clinical experts with advanced and professional degrees.
With such expertise, The Access Group offers a broad and robust understanding of evolving market dynamics, executives say. “Our work is shifting from a product-specific perspective to a broader portfolio partnership approach,” says Chris Abtahi, entity lead at Catalyst. “Our managed markets advisors are requesting broader partnership support and resources; we are working with our clients to develop programs and tools that move account management teams beyond transactional discussions and toward population health management solutions.”
Executives believe that, as a leading independent strategic health care communications network, this level of agile involvement and partnership is crucial to success. The seamless integration of network resources drives a robust array of strategic, creative, and tactical solutions.
The Access Group is composed of five distinct entities – Bioeclipse, Catalyst, FronTier Managed Markets, MedAccess, and Promidian – as well as four specialized service groups – S3 (Strategic Selling Solutions), Government Policy Systems (GPS), the Oncology Business Unit, and StrataMed. Headquartered in Berkeley Heights, NJ, The Access Group has offices in New York City, Boston, Chicago, San Diego, Los Angeles, and San Francisco.
With sustained momentum from a successful 2016 and new opportunities to take advantage of evolving market dynamics, the future looks very bright for The Access Group, executives say. According to network leaders, The Access Group’s future growth will continue to emphasize service alignment and cross-company offerings to further demonstrate the value of a network that supports an “all-in-one” brand strategy and management consulting, marketing, selling solutions, medical communication, and professional promotion services. This integration across complementary business entities to provide holistic brand support is what differentiates The Access Group from traditional network agencies, executives say.
The Access Group is firmly committed to fighting against pediatric cancer, executives say. Working with the Go4theGoal Foundation, a nonprofit organization that helps children affected by cancer reach their goals and funds cutting-edge research to find a cure, The Access Group will continue its focused approach to philanthropy. “In 2016, we streamlined our charitable involvement to focus on the Go4theGoal Foundation, and our employees responded whole-heartedly,” says Jessica Kalbach, senior VP, operations. With company-wide events throughout the year, everyone in the network will have a chance to collaborate, create, and make a difference that goes beyond just financial contributions.