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PharmApprove adds executive to spearhead European expansion

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PharmApprove, a Lawrenceville communications firm that helps life science companies communicate with regulatory authorities, is expanding into Europe and has named a new leader to spearhead the effort.

The company has hired industry executive Coos De Graaf as principal of commercial operations in Europe, in charge of overseeing the expansion. PharmApprove expects to open an office in Zurich, Switzerland, within the next six months.

Business growth has fueled expansion at PharmApprove, which also considered opening an office on the West Coast, said Pete Taft, founder of the firm's parent company, Taft and Partners.

Taft said the business chose Europe because more companies are there, plus many plan on expanding into the American market. PharmApprove helps pharmaceutical and biotechnology clients seeking drug approval make their case to regulatory bodies and advisory panels in Europe and the United States.

"We turn clinicians and doctors into lawyers for a day," Taft said. "We help them argue their case before the proper agencies."

De Graaf has 30 years experience in the pharmaceutical industry, including executive roles in the global chemistry farm SolvayPharmaceuticals. He also helped develop the Campbell Alliance, a management consulting company serving the life science industry.

"He's a fun, intelligent, savvy guy." Taft said. "He is a real find, and his Rolodex in Europe is incredible."

PharmApprove formed as a consultancy within Taft and Partners in 1999 but spun into a standalone entity about five years ago, Taft said. The company has about doubled its business in the last three years to about 70 clients and 100 projects, he said. The privately held company does not disclose revenue.

PharmApprove said De Graaf will help the firm offer expanded services to clients as they prepare to bring new therapeutic agents and devices before regulatory and health technology assessment agencies.

"PharmApprove has established client experience in Europe, but adding a leader of Coos De Graaf's caliber positions us extremely well to continue growing to serve our clients globally," PharmApprove President Dr. Laurie Smaldone said in a statement. "In addition we are excited to announce expanded services building upon our success in supporting product approvals to include market access communication support."

"I am excited to join PharmApprove, which has a long track record of success working with pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies," DeGraaf said. "There are tremendous opportunities to extend our expertise in Europe, both in the development and post-approval stages."

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