Top healthcare marketing firm W2O just snapped up two more companies as it seeks to take on bigger players like IPG and Publicis

  • W2O Group has continued its string of healthcare marketing and communications acquisitions, snapping up an agency called Swoop and data insights company called IPM.ai.
  • The deals are meant to help bolster W2O's data offering and help it design campaigns that target consumers, patients, and clinical trial candidates.
  • W2O also sees the deals helping it compete with larger players like Huntsworth Health and agencies at big ad holding companies like Publicis and IPG.
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W2O Group, one of the largest healthcare marketing and communications firms in the world, just acquired two more companies as it races to scale and take on the likes of bigger players like IPG, Publicis, and Huntsworth Health.

Swoop is a healthcare marketing agency that helps healthcare clients identify potential patients for certain treatments, while data insights company IPM.ai provides data to speed up the research, development, and commercialization of therapies for patients affected by rare diseases.

The two companies, which collectively have a data pool of more than 300 million anonymous patients, will help expand W2O's offerings to services like designing and executing clinical trials and launching products for clients. Previously, W2O got data from publicly available sources and social media through its own platform and Symplur, which it bought in 2020.

"Data is collected everywhere now," W2O CEO Jim Weiss said. "It's changed how we can leverage data and analytics and how we can find more efficient ways to target audiences, and market and communicate with them. The whole industry has been moving in this direction, and we modeled our business around those inevitabilities."

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Most of W2O's clients have been large biopharma companies like Astellas and Takeda, but it also wants to branch out to healthcare organizations like hospitals and medical technology companies, Weiss said.

W2O and Huntsworth Health have led consolidation in healthcare communications and marketing in recent years.

Healthcare marketing spending was a rare bright spot in the pandemic, and W2O flourished, with revenue up 50% to $350 million in 2020, in part on increased demand to promote telehealth clients to patients in lockdown, Weiss said. 

Growth also came from nine acquisitions W2O made since selling an undisclosed stake to private equity firm New Mountain Capital in 2019. W2O has acquired 11 companies since 2016.

Weiss projects the company will top $450 million in revenue in 2021; it's hired McKinsey to help scale the company. Long term, W2O wants to expand to areas like healthcare e-commerce and launching therapeutic products through licensing agreements with pharmaceutical companies.

“Digital

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