WALTHAM, MA: Biogen has hired Schwartz Communications to handle its media relations, corporate messaging, and branding.
Schwartz is Biogen's first-ever agency appointed to handle corporate PR. Spectrum Sciences handles Biogen's product communications.
Schwartz pitched for the account against a number of other, undisclosed agencies. The agency said it hopes the relationship will be ongoing, but would not disclose a budget or exact length of the contract.
Among the reasons for Biogen's decision to employ an agency to handle corporate matters are its currently available multiple sclerosis drug, Avonex; its pipeline drug for psoriasis, Amevive; and the recent hire of CEO Jim Mullen.
"With all they have going on, they decided it was time to be more proactive in telling Biogen's story," said Lloyd Benson, EVP of Schwartz.
The organization's internal staff has made strides in linking the Biogen name with notions of social responsibility and community outreach, but this is the first time it has employed an agency to assist in its efforts.
In August, the company opened the Biogen Community Laboratory, a teaching facility where approximately 50 Boston-area students enrolled in a summer program on molecular genetics. Participants took part in a variety of experiments during the one-week sessions, held in a Biogen R&D building.
"Building brand awareness for biotech companies is an essential element of corporate image," explained Benson, "and their ability to market themselves effectively to all constituencies."