VMLY&R appoints Sean Rooney, PhD as Chief Science Officer

Sean Rooney headshot

June 2, 2021

VMLY&R has hired science veteran Sean Rooney, PhD as Chief Science Officer. Rooney, a seasoned medical communications leader, received his PhD in Immunology from Harvard and completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Rockefeller University before joining the medical communications field over a decade ago.  Rooney will lead the promotional science team at VMLY&R and will help drive the integration of science across the agency’s ever-expanding roster of health sector clients and business, building truly differentiated and evidence-based brand narratives. This role supports VMLY&R’s mission to create truly connected health experiences, leveraging scientific storytelling to improve experiences for HCPs, patients, and health consumers at every step of their health journey.

Louisa Holland, Executive Officer, Science Integration at VMLY&R, said:

“This new role underpins our strategy to use science as an integrating force when delivering connected health solutions for our clients. We knew we needed someone who has their head in science and their heart in communications and creativity. Understanding both the science and the art of creating engaging health communications is a rare skill and I am thrilled that Sean brings that to our offer. Equally important, Sean has an impressive track record of nurturing scientific expertise and will be a magnet for new talent.”

Sean Rooney added:

“I’m delighted to be joining a team that understands the power of connecting science to a larger health experience. I’ll focus on bringing promotional understanding to the medical mindset so that we can create opportunities for scientists to tell the stories that improve our health. I am a scientist, but I also know how much value we can create when we work with teams from different disciplines.  The magic really kicks in at these points of intersection and I cannot wait to contribute to further building VMYL&R’s health powerhouse.”

Sean’s most recent role was as Managing Director of The Scienomics Group, an Omnicom-owned specialist medical education unit. He has worked across a wide range of disease areas including oncology, rheumatology, dermatology, gastroenterology, infectious disease, pulmonology and rare disease with clients including Genentech, Novartis, Merck, BMS, Celgene and biotech companies.

The new role follows a number of investments VMLY&R has made to its expanding health offer. Building on a 12% increase in healthcare revenue in North America, at the end of 2020, it launched VMLY&Rx, a global offer dedicated to pharmaceutical companies that are researching and developing breakthrough therapies. It continued the momentum in April 2021 with the hire of health heavy weight Nichole Davies as Global Chief Strategy Officer VMLY&Rx, and last month, it launched VMLY&Rx Payer (a specialist brand team dedicated to access and payer strategy in the US).

Based in NYC, Sean will be working closely with VMLY&R’s teams in the US, including medical education, HCP and DTC promotion, technology, and Customer Experience (CX), and will report into Louisa Holland, Executive Officer, Science Integration at VMLY&R. 

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