Company news from the 03/27/07 news brief

Contract sales firm PDI said a “large pharmaceutical company” client has decided not to renew a $35 million contract sales engagement with the firm. PDI said it had expected the one-year deal, which expires May 12, to be extended through the end of 2007. The loss of the deal is just the latest in a series of contract setbacks for PDI. In October, GlaxoSmithKline decided not to renew its 2007 sales agreement with PDI. That deal represented as much as $70 million in annual revenue for the contract sales firm. Also in October, Sanofi-Aventis ended a $20 million sales engagement with PDI. And in March 2006, AstraZeneca discontinued its fee-for-service agreements with PDI, after previously working with the firm for 12 years. That termination affected approximately 800 field representatives and impacted $65 to $70 million of PDI’s revenue. PDI CEO Michael Marquad called the latest setback “disappointing” in a statement, adding that it “underscores the importance of our strategy, which focuses on diversifying our revenue stream.” Marquad added that PDI would continue to be engaged in discussions with other large pharma companies for fee-for-service contracts, while exploring potential acquisition opportunities. Sudler & Hennessey (S&H) announced an expansion of its Latin American presence with the opening of Sudler & Hennessey Mexico. Alejandro Pineda will lead the new office as managing director. Pineda has previously served in marketing roles at Pfizer Mexico and AstraZeneca in Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean. Larry Lannino will serves as EVP and client service director, bringing with him more than 20 years global experience in the professional healthcare industry. Luigi Cardone, team leader Latin America, leads with over 10 years experience in marketing. Medical education initiatives at S&H Mexico will be headed up by Ruben Gutierrez, EVP and managing director. Gutierrez, a veteran to the medical education industry brings with him more than 20 years of area expertise. Veronis Suhler Stevenson (VSS), a private equity investor in the media, communications, information and education industries, announced that it has made a significant investment in MediZine. VSS said in a news release it is partnering with Medizine’s founders and management team to grow the company via internal development of new print and online vehicles and add-on acquisitions. Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. Founded in 1994, MediZine publishes four health and wellness magazines that reach consumers in pharmacies, in doctors’ offices, and in their homes -- MediZine’s Healthy Living; REMEDY; Diabetes Focus; and MDminute. MediZine also provides targeted, point-of-care and permission-based properties along with custom solutions and direct marketing services to its clients.