Public Affairs: Bentham exits Chiron for French drugs firm Servia

Chiron Vaccines' top lobbyist, Clara Bentham, has quit after 12 months to bolster the profile of privately owned French pharmaceutical company Servia among UK healthcare policy makers and the media.

It is understood that Bentham is to join Servia in the newly created role of corporate affairs manager.

She will be expected to raise awareness of the firm's products and build relations with the National Institute of Clinical Excellence (NICE), which recommends the treatment doctors should prescribe.

Servia, which has hitherto lacked a communications function in the UK, prides itself on consistently investing 25 per cent of turnover on research and development, double the pharma industry average.

It manufactures and researches drugs to treat heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis. Earlier this year, the company joined forces with other French drugs firms in urging the French government to increase funding for life sciences research to EUR10m a year, which would represent a ten-fold increase.

Chiron head of corporate comms and PR Robert Budge refused to comment on Bentham's departure, adding that there was 'no decision' as to whether the California-based firm would replace her.

According to sources close to the company however, her former post has been scrapped.

Bentham could not be reached for comment as PRWeek went to press.

She joined Chiron Vaccines in the role of UK and Ireland policy and corporate affairs manager a year ago from LLM Communications, where she was an associate director (PRWeek, 21 May 2004).

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