Fishawack leaders join Carling Group of Companies partners in the San Diego office. Oliver Dennis, CEO, Fishawack, and Didi Discar, Principal, Carling, are pictured in the center. (Photo: Business Wire)


The Fishawack Group of Companies – one of the largest independent medical communications organizations – has acquired the Carling Group of Companies, based in San Diego, Calif. The acquisition includes Carling Communications and MCME Global. Carling Communications is the first agency in the Fishawack Group to be focused entirely on healthcare marketing, while MCME Global specializes in medical education.

Carling Communications was founded in 2010 by Didi Discar, leveraging more than two decades of experience on the client and agency sides of pharmaceutical marketing. Carling has a team of nearly 100 employees who specialize in award-winning, full-service marketing, advertising, and physician communications for clients from the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Since its early focus in ophthalmology and dermatology, the agency has expanded its expertise to 35 therapeutic areas, including aesthetics, cardiovascular, diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and pain management.

“Fishawack has already made six strategic acquisitions to expand our reach, capabilities, and client base,” says Oliver Dennis, CEO of the Fishawack Group. “Our new investor, LDC, is supporting us to expand the group further. Our clients comprise a mix of medical affairs and commercial teams, and we have always offered a complete range of services to the former and with the addition of a creative agency we can now do the same for the latter. I’ve known Didi and her team for over seven years, frequently partnering with Carling for their promotional capabilities, so Carling is a natural fit as our creative agency.”

Didi Discar, principal at Carling, believes that the acquisition will allow the company to achieve even more for its clients and employees. “I believe that this signals a new beginning in what we can bring to our clients,” Discar says. “Our skills complement each other and provide synergies that will significantly benefit current and future clients, while building on our shared vision of excellence, integrity, and respect.

“Carling officially opened our London office last month to better serve our growing roster of non-U.S.-based clients and this month we joined the Fishawack Group of Companies, solidifying our international agency status with additional offices in the UK, Switzerland, and India. This is not only a boon for our ability to provide expanded client support, but also for career and development opportunities for both Carling and Fishawack staff.”

According to Gail Flockhart, group managing director at Fishawack, “Fishawack will benefit from a significant increase in our team based out of the expanded West Coast presence. Adding an office in San Diego to our one in San Francisco will allow us to deliver better service for our California-based clients.”

This deal marks the first acquisition Fishawack has made since mid-market private equity investor LDC backed the buyout of the business in January 2017. Simon Braham, Investment Director at LDC, says, “Over the past six months we have been working closely with Oliver and his team to implement their growth strategy. This is a major milestone for Fishawack and we look forward to continuing to support the team.”