Euradia, which advocates the funding and co-ordination of diabetes research across Europe, has awarded a strategic comms account to Hickson Communications, founded by former COI PR and client director Oliver Hickson.
The agency has been charged with developing a formal strategic comms plan - the organisation's first - encompassing both the short term and the next five years.
Euradia is an alliance of major NGOs that was legally formalised in 2007. It has representatives from charities, academics and pharma firms GSK and Roche on its board and has EU funding.
While Burson-Marsteller advises Euradia on reaching policy makers in Brussels, the organisation now wants to present more of an external face to government, the medical profession, patients and the wider public.
Executive director at Euradia Sarah Hills said: 'We felt we had come quite a long way and wanted to bring everything together, to refocus and sharpen our goals.'
Hickson, whose agency was recommended for the job by comms charity Media Trust, said: 'Diabetes is very high on the Government's list of priorities, as about ten per cent of EU citizens have diabetes and the costs are escalating. Everyone is very keen for earlier detection and for people to take more responsibility for adopting a healthy lifestyle.'
A report from the National Audit Office last month found the NHS was not providing recommended standards of care for people with diabetes, resulting in 24,000 unnecessary deaths each year.