NEW DELHI AND NEW YORK — Finn Partners, one of the the top five independent public relations firms in the US, has significantly strengthened both its global healthcare operations and its Asia-Pacific footprint with the acquisition of SPAG Asia, a pioneering Asia-based healthcare communications specialist with offices in Bangalore, Delhi, Indonesia, Malaysia, Mumbai, the Philippines and Singapore.

SPAG works with a number of global biopharma companies, health trade associations (including PhRMA) and health provider systems and has been recognized as PRovoke Media’s Healthcare Agency of the Year in Asia twice in the past five years. SPAG was one of the first healthcare specialist firms in a region where the sector has been slower to develop than in the US and Europe.

The acquisition is one of the largest in Finn Partners’s history, ranking alongside earlier deals for Washington, DC-based Widmeyer Communications and travel marketing group Anthology, and has the potential to be one of the most significant, giving the firm more than 150 people in its Asia-Pacific operation, 100 people in its regional headquarters in Singapore and making its healthcare practice truly global: the 275-strong global healthcare practice now has revenues of almost $50 million.

But Gil Bashe, Finn's managing partner and chair of global health and purpose, says that having worked closely with SPAG over the past 12 months, the good cultural fit between the two firms is at least as important as additional critical mass, and the talent added at both the senior level and throughout SPAG will have a major impact on Finn’s ability to develop and deliver global healthcare programming.

That is reflected in new leadership role for SPAG’s founders. Aman Gupta (pictured, left), the firm’s founder and managing partner, joins Finn as a managing partner and lead for the agency’s health practice throughout Asia. Co-founder Shivani Gupta (right) will be managing partner, culture and brand reputation, health Asia, and will focus on building brand communications and practice culture throughout the region.

"Among the hallmarks of SPAG is our recognized passion for our people and clients," says Aman Gupta, who, before founding SPAG in 2013, held executive positions at agencies and bio-pharma companies, including Imprimis Life (part of Perfect Relations Group), Lupin Laboratories and Ranbaxy. "Joining Finn enables us to bring additional cutting-edge services, geographic reach, and health-sector and digital expertise to our clients." In addition, he says the deal “opens doors to wonderful staff opportunities and knowledge-sharing around health developments and best practices.”

Shivani Gupta adds: “Collaboration enables people to tap into each other’s knowledge and apply it to the great challenges facing health innovators of all sizes and sectors. We are thrilled to be on this journey together.”

SPAG becomes part of the Finn Asian region, overseen by Howard Solomon, founding managing partner, who also leads the firm’s operations on the West Coast of the US. Gupta will work closely with Bashe and with Fern Lazar, managing partner and global health practice lead. Both he and Shivani Gupta become members of the agency's global health practice leadership team, which is facilitated by Lazar.

Asia has been the epicenter of several recent health crises—from SARS and bird flu to the recent global Covid pandemic—but as Bashe points out, it is also the center of increasing investment in public health, both from global corporations and regional governments, and has become a focus for innovation in the health sector.

“When we consider Asia as a vast region fueling a significant percentage of global venture capitaland private equity investments in digital health—$6 billion of $14 billion in the past five years, SPAG’s knowledge and expertise are key to realizing our shared mission of serving clients to improve human health,” he says.

Finn partners founder and CEO Peter Finn adds: “Asia is paving the way for global health innovation, and clients eager to engage can generate greater value by taking bold, strategic action in the region. This infusion of health-sector talent in Asia—where we already have great strength in technology and travel in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai and Singapore—builds on our collaborative approach to growth."

Following the acquisition, SPAG Asia will be branded as “SPAG, a Finn Partners Company.” There are no anticipated staff redundancies or client conflict, the two firms say.