AXON Welcomes New Vice President, Integrated Communications – Healthcare

Digital strategist expert, Jeffrey Freedman, is now working with AXON Communications as Vice President, Integrated Communications—a newly created position. In his nearly 20 years of digital communication experience, Freedman learned to leverage analytics and adult learning principles to create experiential and digital strategies. Mario Nacinovich, Managing Partner of AXON, says, “Jeffrey brings the real-world, practical experience in integrated communications to our relationships with our clients and colleagues.”

Freedman’s experience includes leading every avenue of digital marketing from multichannel CRM and compliance initiatives, to live, interactive events and technological solutions that educate and enhance communications between his clients and their customers. Most recently, he led programming for Medical Knowledge Group’s network of agencies: Synapse Medical Communications, MEI, and 81qd.

Biolumina Promotes Kirsten A. Kantak to CEO

Kirsten A. Kantak, formerly President of Biolumina, was recently promoted to Chief Executive Officer by Omnicom Health Group, part of Omnicom. Prior to Biolumina, a full-service, integrated omnichannels solutions agency, Kantak served as Senior Vice President, Global Managing Director of Harrison and Starr.

“Kirsten helped take Biolumina into the future, cementing it as a fierce competitor in the healthcare space,” says Ty Curran, previous CEO of Omnicom Health Group and now Chairman of Biolumina.

Gilead Sciences

Promoted Alessandro Riva, MD, to Executive Vice President, Oncology Therapeutics, with responsibility for Gilead’s hematology and oncology programs, including cell therapy research and development, after having served as Senior Vice President, Hematology and Oncology Therapeutic Area Head since January 2017. During his short time at Gilead, he’s helped expand the oncology program and acquire Kite Pharma. Prior to this, he served as Head, Global Oncology Development at Novartis.

Hanover Brussels

Aurélie Marchand has been appointed EU Health Account Director, joining the communications and public affairs consultancy after advising healthcare and FMCG clients at Hill & Knowlton Strategies Paris for the past 6 years. Marchand also worked on French parliament relations at Sanofi and also held several positions within the French administration.

Harrison and Star

Harrison and Star, part of Omnicom Health Group, appoints Mario Muredda as the new CEO. Muredda has been with the company since 2012 and served as Co-President since 2015. Previously, he was SVP at AgencyRx, and VP and Associate Director of Business Development at Cline Davis & Mann.

Lexington Communications

Hired a new panel of strategic advisors to act as senior counsel to its healthcare team including the experienced clinician Dr. Mike Bewick, the former Deputy Medical Director of NHS England. Dr. Bewick previously served as the Principal of Cumbria for more than 20 years.


Promoted Albert Bourla to the newly created Chief Operating Officer position. In 1993, Bourla joined Pfizer as Technical Director of Greece in its Animal Health Division, and now leaves his position as Group President of Pfizer’s Innovative Health Business. Bourla’s lengthy career in global executive positions prepares him to lead Pfizer’s business strategy efforts.

Publicis Health

Graham Mills, former Global Chief Creative Officer at Publicis Health since 2015, is retiring after 30 years in the creative advertising world. Mills founded Digitas Health in 2007 and has led agency giants like Ogilvy, Arc Worldwide, and Wunderman. He now plans to explore his artistic potential with his wife and creative partner, Jaqueline Nolan.


The consulting service adds former senior FDA and oncology executives to its Executive Board. Robert Iser, Vice President of Regulatory Consulting Service, most recently served as Director of the FDA’s Office of Process & Facilities and will now help Parexel clients avoid market delays due to compliance or quality problems. Dr. Bob (Bhardwaj) Desai, Vice President of Consulting, Technical (Oncology) has more than 10 years experience leading global oncology and biologic/biosimilar drug development programs for Astellas Oncology, Pfizer, and more. He is charged with helping clients deliver commercially viable, reimbursable products to market faster and more cost effectively.

Tango Therapeutics

Shakti Narayan, PhD, JD, has joined Tango Therapeutics as its new Chief Business Officer. Previously, Narayan served as VP and Head of Transactions at Johnson & Johnson Innovation in Boston, where he led oncology business development efforts and a team that drove strategic transactions.

Topas Therapeutics

The autoimmune disease-focused company appointed Rupert Sandbrink, MD, PhD as Chief Development Officer and Chief Medical Officer. Dr. Sandbrink offers more than 20 years of clinical development experience, and most recently served as EVP, Multiple Sclerosis/Neurology & Immunology at Forward Pharma A/S.

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

President Trump officially nominated Alex Azar as head of Health and Human Services (HHS). Prior to being nominated, Azar was the President of Eli Lilly & Co., U.S. before resigning earlier this year. He has HHS experience having worked in the agency for the Bush Administration, including two years as the department’s second-in-command. Among Azar’s responsibilities will be dismantling the ACA, dealing with the opioid crisis, and lowering drug prices.


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