HCC De Facto expands its operations in Germany


23-01-2001

HCC De Facto GmbH formed as a new subsidiary, based in Munich



London (UK) .

HCC De Facto Group plc, Europe's leading full service life science PR company, today announced that it has made a major strategic commitment to the German market, with the opening of a wholly owned subsidiary, HCC De Facto GmbH, based in Munich. The office will build on the company's existing German business, where current clients include: Morphochem, Medigene, Noxxon and Migragen.



The German subsidiary will be headed initially by Richard Cripps, Managing Director of the UK parent, supported on the ground by Herbert Barnehl who joins as Associate Director. The company has plans to expand to a core team of four as soon as possible with further growth to be driven my market demand.



Commenting on the expansion, David Dible, Head of the Corporate and Financial Team:

'HCC De Facto has built a leading position globally in life science communications, which will be strengthened by the opening of our German office. The growth in number of life science companies in Germany should allow us to expand both our biotech corporate/financial business and our healthcare marketing communications business in this important market. In addition, our new office should enable us to assist our international clients build stronger relationships with German media and investors'.



As Associate Director, Herbert Barnehl will provide project management and strategic counsel to a portfolio of German clients and will spearhead media out reach in Germany. Prior to joining HCC De Facto, Mr Barnehl was a communications consultant working for one of Germany's leading emerging biotech companies, Morphochem AG, and has recently conceived a unique infomercial with TV station N-TV Berlin called Talkshow Biotechnology. Mr Barnehl has 20 years experience in business-to-business communications across a wide range of industries, and held various leading positions at Holtzbrink Group, Dűsseldorf (Wirtschaftswoche, Handelsblatt) and Burda Verlag, Munich.



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The German biotechnology sector has been expanding rapidly since the government-sponsored BioRegio programme in the mid-90s with the number of biotechnology companies in Germany overtaking that of the UK for the first time in 2000. Munich is one of the hottest clusters for biotechnology companies in Europe, given the city's good infrastructure, allied to ready access, venture capital and other services. This was a major factor in HCC De Facto choosing Munich for its first office outside the UK. A number of Germany's biotechnology companies have transitioned to the public markets in the last 12 months, and there are now 20 biotechnology companies listed on the Neuer Markt.



HCC De Facto has been established for over 10 years and its clients include global majors such as Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, biotechnology leaders such as Cambridge Antibody Technology as well as many start-ups and support organisations. Across its London and Munich offices the company employs 47 staff, with an annual turnover approaching 5 million (DM 16 million). The consultancy operates globally and serves clients in the UK, Germany, Sweden, France, Switzerland, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium and the US.

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