Seasoned Talent to Drive Expansion of Solutions at the Intersection of Value and Policy

MORRISVILLE, N.C. – February 23, 2021 – Syneos Health Communications – the portfolio of Syneos Health® agencies designed to deliver insights-driven integrated communications spanning advertising, public relations, patient advocacy, medical communications, managed markets, omnichannel, digital, naming and branding – has hired five senior specialists to deepen its leading market access and external affairs offerings. Senior experts from the life sciences, federal government and public affairs sectors will offer clients deep acumen, innovation and evidence-based solutions to advance receptivity and access for established brands and emerging therapies. 

“Our entire model is about acceleration, and one of the biggest factors impacting time to market and brand success is market access strategy,” said Tim Pantello, President of Syneos Health Communications. “This influx of senior talent enables us to deploy even deeper expertise against our customers’ challenges in modern, sophisticated communications offerings including value, pricing and public affairs.”  

Talent joining the organization spans the globe including Mark Sudwell, Head of Value, Access and Reputation Communications in Europe. Sudwell has more than 20 years of experience as a corporate affairs communications leader and a strong track record of delivering integrated campaigns that optimize access to new therapies and communicate product and corporate value. A former Communications Director for Lilly’s Europe, Australia and Canada operations, Sudwell is based out of London and reports to Nicky Walsby, Managing Director of Syneos Health Public Relations within Europe.

Top talent joining the Syneos Health Reputation & Risk Management Group, led by Meg Alexander, includes four strategic hires dedicated to advancing biopharmaceutical reputation and valuation, maximizing therapeutic access, navigating value frameworks and fostering stakeholders’ perceptions of drug value. New colleagues include: 

Leigh Ann Bruhn, Value and Market Access Lead, joins with more than 20 years of expertise in value-based healthcare, market access, pricing, and reputation and risk management having held senior roles at Pfizer, Abbott Laboratories and Avalere Health. 

Katie Conover,Senior Public Affairs Strategist, a former FDA Assistant Commissioner, brings more than fifteen years of experience driving innovative media relations and advocacy campaigns to help biopharmaceutical and payer clients build brand reputation. Her expertise includes proactive media engagement, crisis management and stakeholder outreach programs for companies including Janssen, Merck, Anthem and Medtronic.  

Laura Keehner Rigas, Senior Reputation Strategist, Public Affairs and Value Access, brings a 20 year track record of communications and public affairs successfully managing large teams and providing strategic counsel to C-suite level leadership in state and federal government and non-profits. She joins Syneos Health from the Office of the Secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and previously served in senior roles at the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and the U.S. Department of Justice. 

Aneeb Sharif, Global Value and Access Strategist, Risk and Reputation Management, has a long tenure working with global biopharma and life science companies including Janssen, Novartis, and Lilly on the intersection between public affairs and value and access. He was previously Vice President of Health at Edelman.

These new hires complement the existing depth of talent at Syneos Health Communications who hail from prior experience in Congress, the FDA, provider organizations, commercial payers, financial institutions, the law and public health. They are on executives’ speed-dials for needs at the intersection of policy and communications, including matters surrounding the affordability of medicines, compassionate use, safety, risk mitigation, shifting policy landscapes and barriers to access.

Agencies within the Syneos Health Communications portfolio specialize in payer communications and access marketing, connecting insights, data and trends to motivate behavior. They also have access to cross-functional Value and Access expertise across the clinical to commercial product development spectrum.

Syneos Health Communications agencies work in scalable, purpose-built teams that partner across disciplines and geographies to accelerate brand performance. The portfolio includes GSW, GSW Managed Markets, Chandler Chicco Agency, Biosector 2, Chamberlain Healthcare Communications, Managed Markets Communications, Navicor, Cadent Medical Communications and Addison Whitney, among others.

About Syneos Health

Syneos Health® (Nasdaq:SYNH) is the only fully integrated biopharmaceutical solutions organization. The Company, including a Contract Research Organization (CRO) and Contract Commercial Organization (CCO), is purpose-built to accelerate customer performance to address modern market realities. We bring together approximately 25,000 clinical and commercial minds with the ability to support customers in more than 110 countries. Together we share insights, use the latest technologies and apply advanced business practices to speed our customers’ delivery of important therapies to patients. To learn more about how we are Shortening the distance from lab to life®, visit or subscribe to our podcast.

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