Healthcare: Merck runs pitch for cancer drug work

Swiss pharmaceutical giant Merck Serono is refreshing comms for its colorectal cancer treatment.

It is understood that Merck has a big-money brief out to pitch for an agency to work on Erbitux (cetuximab), the leading treatment for both bowel, and head and neck, cancer.

Industry sources named Chandler Chicco Agency as the incumbent on the account, believed to worth hundreds of thousands of pounds a year. But Fiona Hall, European MD of CCA's parent company Chandler Chicco Companies, refused to say whether CCA held the brief.

Merck Serono also declined to comment. The pitch is thought to be in its early stages and follows a request for information from several undisclosed London-based agencies.

Colorectal cancer is the third most deadly cancer among women and the fourth in men. It is responsible for about 529,000 deaths worldwide each year. Globally, there are about 650,000 new cases of head and neck cancer each year, and over 350,000 deaths.

CCA began working on the international brief for Erbitux in 2005, after winning the business from Burson-Marsteller. Earlier this year, CCC appointed Anne-Marie Rodriguez de Killeen as MD of CCA following her appointment in 2009 to lead the global Erbitux account.

Last week, inVentiv Health, CCC's parent, announced the launch of inVentiv Health Communications/Europe, a company that brings together its advertising, public relations, public policy, market access, medical education, marketing, branding and digital services across Europe. CCC will continue to work under its brand name.

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