Novartis enlists both Biss and Red

The world’s number one life science company, Novartis, has hired two agencies to handle its group public relations and public affairs accounts in the UK for the first time, following a competitive pitch.

The world’s number one life science company, Novartis, has hired

two agencies to handle its group public relations and public affairs

accounts in the UK for the first time, following a competitive

pitch.



AS Biss and Co has picked up the public affairs brief, while the Red

Consultancy will be handling Novartis’ group public relations.



The appointments follow the arrival of Fiona Fong as head of

communications for Novartis UK in August. She was previously associate

director at Cohn and Wolfe.



Fong saw a total of ten agencies, four of which pitched for both

accounts.



Among the ten were Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn, Shandwick, GJW Government

Relations and Hill and Knowlton. The combined budgets for the accounts

are thought to be worth around pounds 100,000. Ruder Finn continues as

Novartis’ corporate agency on a global basis.



Novartis, which was formed after the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz in

1996, has three divisions - pharmaceutical, agribusiness and

nutrition.



Each division handles its product and corporate PR individually. Fong’s

brief is for Novartis group communications.



Red will focus on developing understanding of the ’life science’ label,

while AS Biss concentrates on key policy areas and relationships with

opinion leaders.



Adele Biss, chair of AS Biss and Co, said the first task would be an

assessment of Novartis’ current group communications.



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