LONDON — Healthcare-focused communications group Resonant has bought the PR business of Open Health, which it has renamed as Anthem Public Relations.

The 15-strong team will continue to be led by director Barney Mayles. The new healthcare PR and media relations agency will work alongside Resonant’s existing brands: medical communications and education agency Bedrock Healthcare Communications and healthcare market research and health insights firm Origins Insights.

Resonant chief development officer Stephen Marchant told PRovoke Media that the independent, privately-owned group’s ambition was “to grow in the healthcare communications space by organic growth of our businesses or through acquisitions.”

He said the group, which was founded 10 years ago as Bedrock and rebranded this year, had “international growth plans” and was not “limiting ourselves in any shape or form” with regards to future acquisitions in the healthcare communications sector.

Marchant added that Anthem, whose clients include a number of leading pharma companies, was “a successful, award-winning business that is a good fit with our values, and our overall purpose of enabling effective engagement in health.”

David Youds, CEO and owner of Resonant Group (pictured, left) said: “As part of our strategic growth plan, we had planned to build or acquire a specialist health PR offer alongside our existing offerings of actionable patient insights and creative medical education, so this opportunity was very timely. We are excited to welcome the Anthem team to the Group, creating compelling new opportunities for their clients, while maintaining outstanding service.”

As well as Youds and Marchant, the Resonant leadership team includes Anna Korving, who led healthcare agencies including Resolute, which was bought by Publicis in 2010, as non-exec director. Marchant said there were more senior hires to come as part of the group’s growth plans: “We will be looking to bolster the senior team in the next few weeks and months while we redefine the structure.”

Mayles (pictured, right) added: “The chance to grow our already successful offering with the guidance and support of David and the Resonant leadership team is a fantastic opportunity. Our new name and brand represent the deep emotion and sense of connection we seek to create between people with our communications campaigns, and we are incredibly excited for what lies ahead.”

At Open Health, which has more than 850 staff worldwide, founder and chief operating officer Sandy Royden said the rest of the business was not affected by the sale.

She told PRovoke Media that Open Health had decided to divest the UK PR team because the company had “consolidated our strategic focus on medical affairs and health economics and outcomes research (HEOR), for which the PR offering is not core, coupled with the recent departures of some of our senior PR team. With a strong focus on our people and our clients, it was therefore agreed that a new home would be the best option to allow the PR business and its people to continue to grow and succeed in the future.

Royden added: “Resonant were chosen because of their cultural alignment and their strategic focus to build a PR offering alongside their medical communications and insight offerings.”

Recent senior departures at Open Health have included managing director Vicky Bramham, who left to return to Edelman in a senior healthcare client services role last month.

Open Health is itself on the acquisition trail, having bought Spirit Medical Communications Group in August, and Royden said: “There are no more divestments planned, but we are always looking for new acquisitions aligned to our strategic focus to build a scientifically and strategically strong global Medical Affairs and HEOR offering.