F-H wins UK job for biotech Genzyme

US biotechnology firm Genzyme has appointed Fleishman-Hillard to boost its profile among British policymakers and lobby the Government to commit more funding to biotech research.

F-H is understood to have been engaged specifically to work with its therapeutics division. This concentrates on the supply of products for the treatment of chronically debilitating diseases, such as genetic disorders, renal disease and thyroid cancer.

Tony Blair famously signalled his commitment to the industry at a conference in late 2000, saying: 'Biotechnology is the next wave of the knowledge economy and I want Britain to become its European hub.'

The industry is anxious that Blair and PM-in-waiting Gordon Brown reinforce that pledge and back it with additional funding. Biotech firms continue to have to appease those who fear that pressure for progress in the industry is not being put ahead of risks to human health.

Genzyme was founded in Boston, Massachusetts, 25 years ago. It has grown to generate revenues of over $2bn (£1.1bn) and operates in more than 80 countries.

Rival firm Amgen, currently the world's biggest biotech firm, opened a new drug development centre in Uxbridge, London, in January, as part of a major research and development investment in the UK.

F-H director of healthcare PA Claire Ashbridge-Thomlinson leads the account, which was secured after a keenly contested pitch.

F-H referred all queries to Genzyme, which did not return calls.

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