The next chapter: Changing market dynamics in commercialisation and medical communications

David Sanders

The last twelve months have been a time of extraordinary activity in the commercialisation sector – the COVID-19 pandemic saw medcomms groups play a crucial part in keeping pharma companies connected with patients and healthcare professionals, and dealmaking was frenetic on both sides of the Atlantic, for smaller agencies as well as for emerging ‘CCOs’.

As we move further into 2021 and further away from the worst effects of the pandemic, attention is turning to what the next phase in the sector’s evolution may bring. Are there visible risks to the high growth that the sector has recently enjoyed? Will we see continued consolidation and high valuations? Will the growth of digital channels stall as restrictions ease and events shift from virtual to in-person?

Watch this 1-hour webinar on-demand, as we interview an expert panel including Neil Jones, COO at Huntsworth; Dr Jill Harrison, Executive Director at Bioscript Group and Martin Ellis, Founder of Medicom Group and former Non-Executive Chair at Havas, who have all kindly agreed to share their insights on the next chapter for the sector.


Neil Jones, Chief Operating Officer, Huntsworth

Neil is currently Chief Operating Officer of Huntsworth, an international healthcare and communications group (which was taken private by PE house CD&R in May 2020), a position he moved to in October 2019, having previously held the position of Chief Financial Officer at Huntsworth since February 2016. He is also CEO of Huntworth Communications – the Group’s Public relations and Public affairs business. Neil’s role at Huntsworth includes oversight of the Group’s M&A function, with Huntsworth having completed 10 acquisitions in the healthcare sector in the past 4 years, the largest being the acquisition of Nucleus Global in November 2020.

Neil has held senior financial positions for over 20 years, the majority of which have been with public companies in the United Kingdom. Most recently he was CFO of ITE Group plc (now HYVE plc), a FTSE listed international organiser of exhibitions and conferences. Prior to that he was Group Finance Director of Tarsus Group plc, another international trade exhibition organiser. Neil is also a Non-Executive Director of Tremor International, an AIM listed Ad-Tech company. Neil is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England & Wales, qualifying with PWC in 1990.

Jill Harrison, Executive Director, BioScript Group

Dr Jill Harrison first began her career as a medical writer in 2000 and for the past decade, has held executive roles in medical communications agencies. Jill’s most recent role has been at BioScript Group Limited, an international provider of medical communications and regulatory writing services for pharmaceutical companies. During her time as CEO, Jill oversaw the transformation of the business from a small start-up to a medium-size enterprise operating a team of over 100 employees across three territories.

In early 2021, BioScript secured private equity investment from Sovereign Capital to support ambitious plans for growth which will see the expansion of the current service offering and greater geographic reach to further enhance the client experience. Having her own experience of balancing her career with busy family life and four children, Jill has always put people at the heart and centre of the business and is passionate about creating a healthy and happy and diverse workplace in which employees can flourish.

Martin Ellis, Founder of Medicom Group and former Non-Executive Chair at Havas

Martin started his career in the pharmaceutical industry, working in sales and marketing roles for a number of leading companies. In 1992 he moved to the agency world, initially with Burston Marsteller before moving to Cohn & Wolfe to start a healthcare practice.

Founding Medicom Group in 2003 he rapidly grew his own agency into one of the leading UK agencies before selling a percentage to HAVAS some 6 years later. Rapid growth as part of the global group saw Medicom become one of the leading European healthcare businesses with the agency recognised with numerous industry awards.

HAVAS acquired the remaining percentage of the business in 2016, with Martin remaining as the Non-Executive Chairman of HAVAS global and working primarily in acquisitions for the group.

Now fully retired from HAVAS Martin spends the majority of his time in SW France but continues to invest and advise start-ups.