Company news: Amgen and DeCODE Genetics; Porter Novelli

Amgen is buying deCODE Genetics, an Icelandic firm, for $415 million in cash. DeCODE Genetics' work has focused on identifying genetic risk factors for diseases ranging from cardiovascular disease to cancer. “This capability will enhance our efforts to identify and validate human disease targets,” said Robert A. Bradway, president and CEO of Amgen. “This fits perfectly with our objective to pursue rapid development of relevant molecules that reach the right disease targets while avoiding investments in programs based on less well-validated targets.”

Porter Novelli named Paul George director of health. George, who joins from Omnicom healthcare communications agency TogoRun, where he was SVP and partner, starts Jan. 1. In that most recent role, George led global integrated marketing communications programs for clients including BMS and Gilead. He also served as the lead for TogoHealth in an Omnicom initiative to identify and pitch new healthcare business across agencies. Porter Novelli New York senior partner and managing director Karen van Bergen said of George: “As more and more clients look to holding companies to create multi-agency marketing partnerships, Paul's experience will be invaluable as we build the cross-border, cross-discipline solutions that clients need to grow their businesses.”