FINN Partners and Hyderus Unite to Create Major Global Health Communications and Policy Practice

FINN Partners announced that that Hyderus, a leading international, health-focused communications and policy firm, is joining the global independent marketing and communications agency as part of the FINN EMEA region and will now be branded as Hyderus, a FINN Partners Company. Co-founders Mark Chataway and Christopher Nial will join FINN and take leadership positions in the agency’s Global Health Practice and will co-lead its EMEA Public Health Group.

In their new roles, Chataway and Nial will work closely with Fern Lazar, Managing Partner and Global Health Practice lead, and Washington, D.C.-based Richard Hatzfeld, Senior Partner and Global Public Health lead. Both will also report to Gil Bashe, Chair Global Health and Purpose. There are no staff redundancies or client conflicts as a result of this move.

Hyderus, which is based in Ireland and Wales, has a network in Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin America that provides expert guidance on a range of vital health policy issues to leading biopharma companies and non-governmental organizations. The company has completed projects that span 140 countries, with recent examples including assessing the future of access to cancer medicines in middle-income countries; understanding the policy consequences of untreated insomnia; developing access programs for advanced cardiovascular medicines; and advocating for new guarantee and funding mechanisms for essential vaccines.

Headshot of Christopher Nial, who is Co-founder of Hyderus and now a Senior Partner and co-lead of the EMEA Public Health Group.
Christopher Nial, Co-founder of Hyderus and now a Senior Partner and co-lead of the EMEA Public Health Group.

“In multi-country, multi-language campaigns, it’s easy to go disastrously off course because you haven’t understood what colleagues tell you,” Nial, who becomes a Senior Partner and co-lead of the EMEA Public Health Group, told PM360. “Hyderus’ approach involves considering the cultural backgrounds, languages, and communication styles of the people we work with and our clients’, combined with legal and regulatory differences. As a prime example of our approach, we educate our project teams to learn about the holidays of the countries where stakeholders work. This shows our commitment to valuing and understanding cultural perspectives, which helps build rapport and strengthen relationships. This sets Hyderus apart in the industry—diversity and inclusion is global.”

Key Health Policy Trends in Europe

According to Chataway, who becomes a FINN Managing Partner, a couple of big macroeconomic trends are integral to a lot of the policy research, analysis, and change work that Hyderus is doing. One is the ageing population as Europe’s workforce is shrinking while the number of those not working is growing.

Headshot of Mark Chataway, who is the Co-founder of Hyderus and now a FINN Managing Partner.
Mark Chataway, Co-founder of Hyderus and now a FINN Managing Partner.

“Things have got worse since the pandemic, with fewer over 55s active in the workforce now,” Chataway told PM360. “The biggest obstacles to more workforce participation by older people are employer inflexibility and poor health. The average 75-year-old might not work a 40-hour week, but if she’s feeling fit, she might be happy to work 15 or 20 and that will make a vast difference to our collective prosperity. Without better health for older people, we’ll all be much poorer.”

The other economic issue that Chataway points out is that while we think longer lives mean more bills for pension funds and health, the fact is we need older people for economic growth.

“Overall, younger and middle-aged people save a lot of their income, while older people tend to spend it on themselves or their families,” he explains. “We need people to live longer and fuller lives to boost economic activity by spending. Better health unlocks prosperity. I have no idea why professionals and pharma companies are so bad at communicating this to policymakers.”

So, how can change occur to address these issues when healthcare systems are already stretched thin?

“In the near term, we’ll see a diagnostics revolution that will allow us to diagnose diseases more accurately and earlier,” Chataway says. “That will make them easier to treat. In the medium term, there will be more ‘assisted self-care’—for example, personal devices that help a person to know if they have a heart or blood sugar problem, or indeed a dental cavity, before they go to a health professional. The devices will help management too. We will also have much more precision medicine: treatments targeted to the genetic profile of the person and their disease. The Daily Mail will probably run silly stories about talking to computers not doctors, so we need to be preparing people for what’s just around the corner in medicine.”

Chataway also believes many of the most exciting innovations in medicine will be adopted in middle-income countries first and only later in advanced economies.

“Many of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies probably think the same as they are investing in, and spending lots of time with, tech incubators in East Africa, South Asia, and other emerging economies,” he explains. “INSEAD has already reported on one dramatic example of this: a Bangalore cardiovascular hospital is performing many surgical procedures at a fraction of the cost in Europe or North America and with better outcomes. They do it by organizing cardiovascular surgeons into a sort of production line. Imagine the comms challenge to telling the British or the French that they need to learn about the future of healthcare from Kenyans and Indians.”

Expanding Global Public Health and Innovation

The addition of Hyderus strengthens FINN’s Global Health Practice, adding depth and reach to its growing public health communication footprint and increasing FINN total staff to more than 1,400 employees, with more than 275 professionals worldwide dedicated to the health sector. With more than $50 million in revenues, the FINN Global Health Practice is now ranked among the world’s largest independent health practices.

“Through their cutting-edge services, geographic reach, and deep expertise in health policy research and global public health communications, Hyderus elevates our health communications strength throughout Europe,” Chantal Bowman-Boyles, Managing Partner, FINN EMEA, said in a statement. “The combination of Hyderus pharma and health policy knowledge and FINN’s existing diagnostics, device, and digital health expertise enables us to support a broader range of EU and UK clients in the product and provider services sectors.”

Chataway and Nial are also founding members of Baird’s CMC, a global network of veteran communications consultants, which has the potential to further expand FINN client access to worldwide communications expertise.

“As companies and communities continue to navigate constant disruption—driven by the pandemic, health urgencies, socioeconomic and environmental pressures, and new technologies—FINN has been a pioneer in recognizing that the power of collaboration is the essential launching pad for companies and governments to set a positive direction for humanity’s future,” Gil Bashe, Chair Global Health and Purpose, said in a statement. “Hyderus and their leadership team have extraordinary insight into these geopolitical influences through firsthand connections, qualities that strengthen FINN clients’ ability to adapt to the ever-changing global health environment.”

Chataway added in a statement: “FINN has been at the forefront of championing health innovation in advanced and emerging economies. During the past year, Hyderus has worked closely with FINN colleagues in EMEA and Asia on important vaccine access and public health initiatives. We’ve also worked on changes in European health delivery that can impact the lives of millions of people and the prosperity of countries. This announcement feels like a natural next step that formalizes an already strong connection.”

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