Novartis hires Ketchum to brand new arthritis drug

NEW YORK: Ketchum has landed a sizeable account win for Novartis'

yet-to-be-branded COX189 arthritis treatment. The Novartis drug will go

head to head with blockbusters Celebrex and Vioxx for share of the

$6 billion arthritis drug market.



Ketchum beat out Hill & Knowlton and Chamberlain Communications Group in

a heated campaign for the account. The group will handle all

communications in the US for COX189 through the launch of the drug.



"It's always exciting to enter a competitive market," said Tom Jones, VP

and group manager of the Ketchum team that will handle the account.



"With more baby boomers needing arthritis treatment drugs, this is one

of the fast-growing areas in healthcare."



The first step for Ketchum will be to take a close look at public

education initiatives to inform the public about the drug. Then, the

Ketchum team will perform extensive research to find out what Novartis

will have to do to distinguish its brand.



The drug is expected to become available in 2003. COX189 is currently in

its third clinical trial.



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