Northbank, which has 34 staff and specialises in PR for life science companies, will handle corporate, commercial and medical comms. BTG retains Financial Dynamics for financial comms.
De Facto, which is part of Chime Communications, had previously held the account for 18 months but decided not to re-pitch for the work. The agency’s chief executive Richard Anderson said: ‘The client cut the budget by 85 per cent. It was not sustainable for us.’
BTG’s modus operandi is to identify early-stage drugs, principally in the areas of neuroscience and oncology, from other companies, then license and develop them.
Northbank’s media relations programme will aim to raise the company’s profile and position it as a growing life sciences company.
Northbank CEO Sue Charles leads the new account, with senior account manager Tony Stephenson and senior account executive Raji Nandipati also working on the brief.
Charles said: ‘Over recent years BTG has undergone a programme of strategic change. It now has a clear strategy as an emerging speciality pharma company, with strong financial resources and a developing pipeline.
‘We will be targeting healthcare writers and conference opportunities.’
BTG head of marketing Nicole Yost said: ‘The need for more specialised communications support has become more apparent to ensure potential partners are aware of our offering.’
BTG started life in 1948 as a UK government concern, tasked with commercialising technology that was developed by British universities, becoming British Technology Group in 1981.
Privatised in 1992, the company floated in 1995 but two years ago shifted its emphasis to concentrate on drug licensing while licensing out its other products. This gives the company a revenue stream of royalties, which in theory means that unlike most ‘traditional’ biotechs it has less need to regularly raise funds.
BTG employs 70 people in various offices in London, Philadelphia and Osaka.