Donna LaVoie, President & CEO,

LAVOIEHEALTHSCIENCE

"The surge of communication need has increased exponentially as companies recognize the necessity of conveying a differentiated story amid the unprecedented number of financings and IPOs over the last two years."

Could you provide an update on the company’s fortunes in 2021?

LaVoieHeathScience launched a hybrid working model in 2021 and made several key hires in different markets, including a new digital lead in Chicago, a vice president of media in Boston, and another media relations executive to our media relations practice based in Maryland. We continue to expand the team and our services and serve both current and new clients across the health innovation sector with a keen focus on biotech, medical technology, and digital health.

Could you describe your client profile and assess how their evolution informs your approach to service delivery?

LaVoieHealthScience has three kinds of clients: first, there are companies that are launching out of venture, led by entrepreneurs or sophisticated executives from large pharma. Second, we work with small to mid-cap companies. Lastly, we have larger-cap and commercial-stage clients. While their needs may differ, the connective link is strategic communication. All of these companies are tasked with telling a story beyond the science. Our job is to make their companies’ technologies and products more understandable and increase awareness.

How do you help companies convey their messages to an audience that might not have a technical background?

Many companies have complicated stories to share. The pandemic has prompted and sustained a huge influx of retail consumer interest in biotech and health-related stocks. The challenge lies in communicating to non-specialists in a tightly regulated environment and communicating the complexities of product development and commercialization. While the retail audience increased in importance to these companies, we cannot lose sight of the importance of continuing to engage with specialist investors, including corporate partners, who are key to engendering broader interest by the larger audience. LaVoieHealthScience continues to evolve in order to stay ahead of such a fast-changing sector, with the right tools in engaging with broader audiences while retaining our expertise with the specialist sector.

How do you leverage long-term relationships with investors to best assist your clients?

We work with a range of clients, including private companies seeking to launch their company or early clinical stage assets and more mature companies transitioning from development to commercial stage. It is imperative to help companies craft the right message as they evolve through the lifecycle of their development. Our extensive experience in the space gives us the insight to adapt to each unique client situation and need.

In what ways does the theme of sustainability impact your offerings, and could you illuminate other important themes within the industry that you have observed?

Sustainability serves to underpin the development of our clients’ ESG strategies. We do this by utilizing an ESG playbook to underline the importance of sustainability to their operations. Furthermore, where a client already has an ESG program, we help them communicate this to target specific investors. Another important industry trend is the importance of strategic communication for all stakeholders. The surge of communication need has increased exponentially as companies recognize the necessity of conveying a differentiated story amid the unprecedented number of financings and IPOs over the last two years. Furthermore, the integration of digital health with therapeutics is increasing in importance, in addition to developments within the domain of mental health and infectious diseases.

How has the policy environment under the Biden administration impacted the life sciences landscape?

The regulation of drug pricing remains an ongoing issue, with many drugs treating rare diseases retailing at prohibitive prices. The trade-off of innovation and drug pricing is a tricky topic. A bigger issue is the FDA’s contradictory stance on accelerated approvals of innovative therapies and the impact the FDA has on clinical progress and approvals, which induces uncertainty in the markets.

What do you hope to accomplish by 2023?

We intend to sustain the expansion of our service offerings in our active areas. This is evidenced by the increase in our media relations, social media and public market ambassador capabilities.

Looking into the future, LaVoieHealthScience has longer-term interests in expanding its geographical footprint. We recently expanded into the Midwest, which provided an opportunity to source great talent with its beltway of pharma and biotech companies and several key professional associations. We aim to develop a hub of a people in strategic markets.