Innovators 2015: Divisions

PM360’s Innovations Issue, established four years ago, serves as a comprehensive guide to our readers, providing a glimpse at the year’s most cutting-edge: Companies, Divisions, Startups, Products, Services and Strategies.

Here are our picks for the most innovative divisions of 2015, which include any new sectors formed within a company to address a particular problem facing the industry.

AIM Rx: Annodyne




Ian Houck, Director of Client Relations

AIM Rx, the life sciences division of Philadelphia-area digital marketing agency Annodyne, was formed in January 2014. While AIM Rx focuses solely on pharma and biotech, Annodyne’s vast experience outside the healthcare space allows for some non-traditional collaboration and cutting edge innovation. This, combined with in-house expertise in technology and subject matter experts at the ready, gives AIM Rx a unique perspective on the industry.

While AIM Rx is a division of Annodyne, it does not operate in a silo. Instead, it draws upon the knowledge of Annodyne’s staff, from SEO/SEM gurus to social media mavens and data scientists. For example, AIM Rx was tasked with a global initiative by a top 10 pharma company to harvest and use social and search behavioral data to help profile and pinpoint online users during the patient journey, then deliver appropriate, time-sensitive messaging. Because this patient journey project was data intensive, AIM Rx consulted Annodyne’s data scientist from the higher education arena, seeking expert input on how best to tackle the data. Its tech team was then pulled into the project, developing an algorithm that not only organizes but prioritizes all the data as it is collected.

Another recent project AIM Rx worked on was the development of a new technology platform for a second top 10 pharma company, designed to give the company’s integrator team a tool that would significantly reduce the time it took to notify HCPs of changes in formulary status. What distinguished this project was that it focused on both internal and external marketing solutions to give the company a competitive advantage.

Connected Health Innovations Group: Digitas Health LifeBrands


Connected Health Innovations Group

Digitas Health LifeBrands

Brendan Gallagher, EVP, Connected Health Innovations

In early 2015, Digitas Health LifeBrands created the Connected Health Innovations Group in part due to two new realities in healthcare: 1) Increasingly empowered patients, fueled by mobile, energized by social, and less prone to “because that’s the way it is” are bringing new expectations to their relationships with brands. 2) $4.1B of venture funding was injected into digital health last year, creating a huge opportunity for the agency’s clients to create better connected health experiences for their patients and HCPs.

The group consists of Mobile Strategy (with a bespoke App Development Studio); Social Content Marketing and Community Management; both onshore and offshore Connected Health Technology; and Partnership & Alliances capabilities.

The App Dev Studio’s first product was a mobile app framework, customizable for brands as a digital starter kit of sorts. It’s called Start90 and it ensures an optimal first 90 days on therapy by helping patients with co-pay card management, better doctor discussions, medication tracking and reminding, and disease content (see example above).

The Social Content team is on their second year running the social efforts and online conversation during TEDMED’s annual conference. Their efforts last year fostered 176 million impressions over the course of five days, elevating TEDMED to the position of second-most followed brand by doctors.

The Technology team is building and managing entire communications ecosystems for some of the world’s largest pharma brands, from creating customized responsive content frameworks across a myriad of CMS platforms, to connecting the pipes of complex CRM infrastructures to ensure clients’ investments are moving the needle.

“Beyond The Pill” Digital Health Division: MediSolutions


“Beyond the Pill” Digital Health Division


Stephen Hoelper, Vice President of Marketing and New Product Development,

MediSolutions has been essential in building, extending and cementing brands and their value story since 1981 as a leading provider of point-of-prescription promotion and education resources. Recently, the company reorganized in order to fulfill its vision of how to simplify healthcare and created a new “Beyond the Pill” digital health division. The goal of the division is to co-create innovative solutions that facilitate a future in which life science companies and healthcare delivery systems can directly collaborate on the transformation of healthcare.

The division relies on a new team of dedicated experts drawn from the fields of behavioral economics, observational research, user-centered design, as well as from agile-driven startups. Leading the transformation is Stephen Hoelper, a founding member of both Merck’s skunk works innovation group and Vree Health.

In 2016, MediSolutions aims to take on the challenge of increasing ease of access to personalized and precision medicine. To this end, the new division taps into the company’s 150,000-strong base of prescribing physicians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants. The division is also looking to open up new conversations and amplify under-heard voices in healthcare via original research and interviews at

Experience Design Group (ExD): AbelsonTaylor


Experience Design Group (ExD)


Tristen George, Vice President of Experience Design

The common misperception is that agencies of record (AORs) travel the road with brands and deliver the big thinking, while specialty shops are more efficient at channel-specific execution. AbelsonTaylor’s new Experience Design Group (ExD) disproves that notion by challenging the traditional creative process. The division combines the extensive knowledge of the AOR with the focused expertise of a specialty shop—all under one roof.

The ExD Group was established in September 2015 to further sharpen AbelsonTaylor’s digital edge. ExD does this by partnering with teams across the agency to provide a focused view of how technology, analytics and digital trends can give a campaign the extra force needed to break through today’s marketing noise. So even though AbelsonTayor has been creating award-winning digital work for 20 years, the ExD Group helps to optimize and extend the reach of the agency’s digital expertise.

The ExD Group also augments the extensive brand knowledge of AbelsonTaylor’s creative teams with the digital expertise of a specialty shop. ExD’s creative contributions are focused on three core areas: User experience design, interaction design and content strategy. In its brief existence, the new division has already established its value as an effective business model by demonstrating an increase in efficiency and an impact on the quality of the agency’s digital executions.

Global Access Insights: Health Strategies Group


Global Access Insights

Health Strategies Group

Rayna Herman, Principal and SVP Sales and Marketing

In today’s global market, a drug in a pipeline is worthless until it is reimbursed. Everyone in the industry is familiar with the statistics: Two-thirds of drug launches perform below forecasted sales and 20% of new drugs meet or exceed their R&D cost.

Health Strategies Group formed a joint venture with Visionary Ventures to meet client’s global market access needs. The joint venture brings together the strength and history of HSG in the U.S. with a team of industry veterans with more than 20 years of experience leading global pricing and market access organizations and access to a network of HTA experts and market access stakeholders in more than 14 countries.

The Global Access Insights division (joint venture) launched in August offering six unique capabilities:

1. Early Value Assessment: Four-stage process identifies product attributes and clinical endpoints to differentiate product with payers.

2. Payer Pulse Panel: Insight about likely payer response to the product is pulsed throughout the development process.

3. ValueMatrix: Proprietary framework assesses a product’s incremental value and price position vs. comparators.

4. Market and Patient Access Barrier Assessment: Stakeholder analysis and assessment of barriers to access by country are conducted for target disease.

5. Innovative Agreements to Secure Access and Reimbursement: Four-step process develops innovative agreements that meet the needs of stakeholders by country.

6. Simulated Drug Review: Senior payers simulate a drug review for compound pre-launch.

Healthware Labs: Healthware International


Healthware Labs

Healthware International

Joe Marafioti, Business Development Manager

Healthware Labs was born out of the recognition that new digital health startups might need some help adjusting to the rapidly changing healthcare landscape. This new division will provide startups with access to “big agency” offerings, optimized for their needs, typical of innovative companies at the beginning of their path in the marketplace. This could include strategic assistance on navigating the typical legal and regulatory concerns or perhaps helping to better understand the needs of larger enterprises they might want to partner with. Healthware Labs can also help the large enterprises themselves with quickly ideating and innovating new solutions outside of their typical agency partnerships, in order to prototype solutions quicker and more efficiently.

Roberto Ascione, CEO of Healthware International, only recently launched Healthware Labs on September 21st, 2015 in New York City, at the Junto Health Fall Summit. However, Healthware International, the division’s parent company, was originally founded in 1996 and has gone through many evolutions in the past two decades in order to adapt to the changing needs of the digital health environment. So even though the division is new, the company has a deep understanding of the cultures that drive both the startup community and large-scale pharmaceutical and life sciences enterprises in healthcare. As an independent company specialized in delivering results in health innovation, Healthware Labs can adapt, invest, innovate and change in a much more fluid manner and evolve even more quickly to suit the needs of the industry.

InnovateMD: Nottingham Spirk



Nottingham Spirk

Bill Nottingham, VP Business Development

Nottingham Spirk, which has generated more than $50B in new revenue and more than 1,000 patents for industry leaders all over the world, recently expanded its medical innovation practice. Now named InnovateMD, the practice is designed to help healthcare organizations develop new revenue streams and transform their businesses by creating products that reach consumers directly. According to analysts at IHS, the global market for consumer medical devices will exceed $10B by 2017.

Additionally, a new national online survey of 2,000 U.S. adults conducted in October by Harris Poll on behalf of Nottingham Spirk revealed more than 75% of U.S. adults would purchase medical products for home use. The survey also showed that chronic health conditions—such as diabetes, arthritis and hypertension—are one of the top drivers of consumers’ purchasing decisions. More than 44% of adults said the ability to manage a chronic condition at home would influence them to buy these products.

With Nottingham Spirk’s 44 years of experience in the consumer, business and medical sectors, the company is uniquely positioned to help any healthcare-related organization—even those not currently offering products—benefit from the rapid expansion of the consumer self-care product market. As part of the practice expansion, Nottingham Spirk is offering companies with revenues of $500 million and above a complimentary analysis.

Nottingham Spirk’s proprietary Vertical Innovation approach means everything is handled under one roof—i.e., research, design, engineering, prototyping, sourcing and more.  The Nottingham Spirk Innovation Center is also near the Cleveland Clinic and University Hospitals, which gives the company access to medical professionals who are on the cutting edge of discovery and treatment.

iVenturesHealth: The CDM Group



The CDM Group

Jo Ann Saitta, Chief Digital Officer, The CDM Group & iVenturesHealth

The CDM Group unveiled iVenturesHealth this past October—making it one of the first healthcare agencies to establish a dedicated team with the technology expertise and experience to tackle the complex issues facing healthcare marketers today. The sole focus of iVenturesHealth is to apply technology to solve healthcare information and communications challenges.

Only a couple of months old, the division manages proprietary lines of software, data products and consulting services originally developed within The CDM Group. As a result some of its software products and consulting services have been in market for the last 12 months, and recent technology partnerships were solidified in 2015.

Some of iVenturesHealth’s software platforms include DriiverSeat (iPad co-navigation), InsideMD (real-time physician insights), essi (media management), and VIA (healthcare workflow). iVenturesHealth also offers digital health audits, which optimize, save costs, improve quality and better manage digital healthcare ecosystems. iVenturesHealth’s innovation services and partnerships with leading technology companies help to innovate the process from prototype to execution to production.

Early results from iVenturesHealth’s software platforms have been promising: DriiverSeat yields seven minutes of physician and rep engagement. InsideMD results in 25% online practicing physician engagement in 24 to 48 hours, and VIA processes 15,000 jobs annually and manages 900 brands.

Science Visualization Practice: Klick Health


Science Visualization Practice

Klick Health

Stephen Biale, VP, Science Visualization

Creating Mechanism of Action (MOA) and Method of Disease (MOD) videos to educate healthcare professionals on how drugs function at the cellular level is nothing new. But often times, the science is incorrect and due to outdated technology, they often lack the ability to excite, engage or educate the end user.

That’s why Klick Health recently added a Science Visualization practice ( to work closely with Klick Labs’ technologists and develop 3D virtual reality experiences that immerse users inside the human body like never before.

The division is headed up by Stephen Biale, Co-founder and former CEO of New York-based Hurd Studios, considered by some to be the Pixar Studios of medicine. Biale along with Klick’s team of award-winning medical animators, illustrators, producers, content developers and virtual reality specialists possess the scientific depth and expertise to develop rich media content, 3D animation and scientific/molecular branding elements to support education and communications for a wide variety of audiences.

The end results are brilliantly crafted MOAs and MODs that use holograms, 3DTV and Oculus Rift 3D to help life science companies tell increasingly complex stories and elucidate the science behind the brand in a simplified manner across multiple applications—all while ensuring better engagement and increased adoption among HCPs and patients alike.

Some of Klick’s Science Visualization work was recently on display at Klick MUSE and Klick Ideas Exchange, and broadcast on CNBC by biotech/pharma reporter Meg Tirrell as well as on Fox TV’s syndicated “Xploration Earth 2050” series.


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