Lexington wins top brief from Novartis

Drugs giant Novartis UK has handed a major public affairs account to Lexington Communications as part of a fresh lobbying offensive.

Craven: founder of Lexington Communications
Craven: founder of Lexington Communications

The pharmaceutical firm has also given a smaller chunk of public affairs work to Political Intelligence. Novartis previously dealt only with Political Intelligence.

The new agency arrangements are part of a wider public affairs drive by the com­pany. It comes weeks after Novartis hired Henry Burkitt to the new post of UK head of government affairs and policy (PRWeek, 23 January).

Novartis is also understood to be creating a new government affairs manager role, which it has yet to fill. Sources involved in the recent pitch process suggested the public affairs overhaul was partly an attempt to prepare for a Tory government.

Lexington won the beefed- up public affairs brief after a keenly fought four-way pitch. Mike Craven’s agency will ­advise Novartis’ general medicine division, as well as taking on the group company and corporate government aff­airs brief. The account will be led by Lexington’s head of health ­Sarah Doyle.

Political Intelligence has retained Novartis’ oncology portfolio, on which it has worked since 2007.

Lexington’s win helps to ­cement its reputation as a leading healthcare public aff­airs agency.

Hanover Communications, Weber Shandwick and Insight Public Affairs are also seen as having particularly strong healthcare credentials.

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