This letter to colleagues and clients was written by Chairman & CEO of Noonan/Russo & Russo Partners, Tony Russo:
Russo Partners is celebrating 30 years this month. When we opened our doors as Noonan/Russo in May 1988, the market was still recovering from the 1987 October crash. Some friends and colleagues strongly advised us against starting an agency in the depressed economy. Others thought starting a communications agency specializing in healthcare was an interesting idea and wanted to be our first client. Now, 30 years later we’re still here and still doing what we love to do: working with young and mature entrepreneurial companies as we help to tell their stories.
Over the years, we’ve experienced a lot of changes inside and outside our agency. Throughout the 1990s, we experienced tremendous growth. We opened offices in San Francisco and London. And in 2001 we sold the agency to Havas—just two months before 9/11. This was a strategic move for us, and I took on the role of global PR practice head for EURO RSCG/Havas.
As it turns out, my first love for young biotech companies won out again. In May 2007, we bought back the biotech and medtech business from Havas and were reborn as Russo Partners. But 2007 was the beginning of the end for the economy as we knew it. Once again, we found ourselves starting an agency in a challenging economic environment. Yet, we did what we know best and performed very well. While other firms around us were downsizing, we stayed the course and never had to alter our path.
Through all these 30 years, our DNA as an agency has remained the same. We love shaping stories. Digging deep into a company’s core science, understanding its value proposition and identifying the unique attributes and points of differentiation of clients to build compelling stories is our passion. Coupled with our knowledge of the industry and competition is our understanding of what matters most to the investment, business development, scientific and patient communities. To do this with companies that are changing the world is our motivation. It is you, the innovators and developers, who have the vision and creativity to help make an idea turn into a meaningful product.
Another key attribute of our agency is our people. Some of the best and brightest in the industry today are Russo Partners graduates. Most have a deep science background and appreciation for the entrepreneurial spirit that pervades our industry. We always believed we could teach the craft of writing news releases and corporate slide decks, but we could not teach organic chemistry or genetics. To this day, most of our staff comes has a strong science background. Because of this background, our staff understands and has a deeper knowledge of the foundation of the discoveries, nuances and the differences between our client’s competitors. Our team members are informed and interested and have the knowledge to effectively engage many in dialogue as ambassadors for our clients.
Our success is a tribute to those who have believed in us and been our clients, employees and friends. Our work hasn’t been easy, and over the years we’ve had to help clients manage some very challenging issues—whether they be crises, new indications for products, new disease areas that no one knew about or technologies that people were fearful of at the time. We’ve worked with our clients through hostile takeovers, a wide range of sensitive issues and clinical trial disappointments, sometimes on a weekly basis.
We’ve also had glorious successes: potential multibillion dollar drug approvals, first time to market technologies, the formation of exciting new companies and the first announcements of major innovations such as genomic science, personalized medicine and immuno-oncology.
This is why we are in this business. And this is why each and every day we come to work wanting to do more.
Thank you for helping to make our work a success. Without you we could not exist. It is your passion and drive that feed ours. You are changing the world, and we are delighted and appreciative for our role with you on the journey.