The agency, better known for its work in the consumer and technology sectors, has previously worked on consumer-facing health campaigns.
Managing director Christine Jewell told PRWeek the new division was a ‘natural next step for the company’.
‘We want to bring an FMCG approach to a more traditional sector that is very specialist, bringing it into the consumer world,’ she added.
Godfrey, who will lead an initial team of four alongside joint consumer head Anna Speight, will also sit on the management board.
The agency is planning to use Godfrey’s knowledge of pharmaceutical comms, which are governed by stricter rules than over-the-counter (OTC) products, to help existing and future clients reach healthcare professionals, including through digital.
Godfrey, who earlier in his career led global healthcare accounts at Hill+Knowlton and Ogilvy, was latterly managing director of e-learning company Wells Healthcare. He has also worked with blue-chip pharma, medical device and biotech firms.
He said: ‘Patients are becoming increasingly demanding and there is a trend of growing interest in healthcare from savvy consumers. Both patients and doctors are looking for more information, and pharmaceutical comms needs to become more patient-centric.’
The agency’s previous consumer-facing briefs include Novartis’ Savlon and the National Patient Safety Agency. Its move into the healthcare sector follows Portland, which recruited the NHS Confederation’s head of comms Louise Fish to launch Portland Health in January.