WeissComm cuts staff amid difficulties in biotech industry

SAN FRANCISCO: WeissComm Group, which includes agency WeissComm Partners, has cut its full-time staff by about 7% in response to funding cuts in the biotech sector.

SAN FRANCISCO: WeissComm Group, which includes agency WeissComm Partners, has cut its full-time staff by about 7% in response to funding cuts in the biotech sector.

Jim Weiss, chairman and CEO of WeissComm Group, confirmed the agency laid off four staff members this week in New York, New Jersey, and San Francisco. Three more staff were converted to full-time consultants. The agency now employees about 83 people globally, down from 90.


While Weiss cited "funding cuts and financing difficulties," facing the biotech industry as the reason for the layoffs, he also emphasized that the agency's revenues grew 40% from last year to $18.5 million in 2008, and that it plans to expand in other sectors including digital, pharmaceutical, and public affairs, as well as in Europe.

"I think this is a defensive move on our part to prepare for a difficult climate in biotech," he added.

An internal memo, obtained by PRWeek, from Diane Weiser, president and COO of the WeissComm Group, informed staff of the layoffs December 10. In the memo, she also blames a “challenging financial environment, particularly in the biotech and life sciences early-stage company sector” for the cutbacks.

Among those laid off were Tom Jones, MD and lead of sister agency Invigorate Communications, which launched this October. Tali Kaplan will assume leadership of Invigorate. Weiss said that the company still plans to add more staff to Invigorate.

Amy Martini, director of corporate communications and IR also departed. Paul Laland will now lead the biotech/life sciences, corporate communications/IR group.

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