WeissComm Partners
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Holmes Report
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WeissComm Partners

Holmes Report

With the mid-year acquisition of Chandler Chicco Companies by holding company InVentiv Health, seven-year old WeissComm Partners is now the largest independent healthcare public relations specialist in the United States, having seen its fee income increase from around $3 million in 2004 to more than $13 million in 2007, an accomplishment that means the firm can no longer be said—as we suggested last year—to be flying below the radar of its more established competitors.


WeissComm was founded on the West Coast and thrived during its early years by serving the unmet communications needs of biotech and other innovative healthcare clients in the Bay Area before expanding to New York and quickly establishing itself as a national player with a broad range of services—clinical trial recruitment, communications strategy, corporate communications, investor relations, product communications, media relations, advocacy group relations—designed to help healthcare companies throughout at every stage of their corporate and product lifecycles.


Founded by industry veterans Jim Weiss, formerly of Heartport, Rhone-Poulenc Rorer, Genentech and GTFH, who serves as president and CEO, and Diane Weiser, who joined from Ketchum, in 2006 the firm added Jennifer Gottlieb, formerly of Cohn & Wolfe, and Amy Martini, formerly head of Porter Novelli’s life sciences practice, as managing director of the New York office and executive vice president in its corporate communications and investor relations practice respectively. Last year there several key appointments, including industry veteran Tony Esposito as chief financial officer; Angela Pennington, formerly of FischerHealth and her own consulting firm, as managing director in San Francisco; and nine senior associates. WeissComm now boasts a senior team that includes former journalists, experts in various sectors of the healthcare business, and an unusual number of PR executives with client-side experience.


Another year of 80 percent growth in 2007 was fueled by new business in the pharmaceutical, medical devices and biotechnology categories, as well as the opening of two new offices in Chicago and Washington, D.C. (with plans for offices in Boston and London in 2008). The firm also benefited from the development of new partnerships between biotech and traditional pharma companies—and the need for counselors who understand the cultures of both sectors. New business came from a host of clients, including Alsius, Ardea Biosciences, BioCentury, EMD Serono, Horizon Therapeutics, Jazz Pharmaceuticals, The Medicines Company, Medtronic, Merck, Pfizer Lyrica, Sagent Pharmaceuticals, Targeted Genetics and Xtent. They join a roster that includes 3M, Genentech, Pfizer, Scios/J&J and TAP Pharmaceuticals.


Interesting assignments ranged from working with medical device company Alsius after one of its products was used in the successful treatment of injured Buffalo Bills tight end Kevin Everett; supporting the FDA approval and launch of Pfizer’s seizure medication Lyrica and the FDA approval of Anesiva’s Zingo and Biomarin’s Kuvan; and crisis support for Targeted Genetics. “WeissComm has become an invaluable strategic partner because it has shown it can achieve results across the entire product, corporate and investor communications spectrum,” says Bill Worthen, president and CEO of Alsius. Adds Robert Radie, executive vice president and chief business officer at Prestwick Pharmaceuticals: “WeissComm has… provided keen insights into the development of high-impact strategies and equally important, has executed on those strategies flawlessly.”


Both strategy and execution are underpinned by a range of proprietary services. The WCP Message Map helps to create and refine distinctive message platforms for clients. The WCP Market Monitor keeps a finger on the pulse of the regulatory and media environments and provides early warning of any emerging issues. CTR Success is a four-step program aimed at maximizing the success of the clinical trial recruitment process. And the WCP Issues Management Approach includes crisis preparedness planning.


While focused on the

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