Roche and GSK close in on global Bonviva PR hire

Pharma giants Roche and GlaxoSmithKline were this week on the verge of drafting in fresh PR agency backing to handle global strategy for their pre-launch osteoporosis pill Bonviva.

It is understood that a selection of agencies have already pitched for the contract and an appointment is expected within days.

The agency would replace Chandler Chicco Agency, which ceased to globally promote the brand earlier this year.

Bonviva, a bisphosphonate-classed drug, will help prevent and treat post-menopausal osteoporosis.

European approval for Bonviva was received in February, while the US Food and Drug Administration approved Boniva (the brand’s US name) 18 months ago.

But both approvals were for a once-daily formulation – Roche and GSK do not want to launch the product until a more convenient once-monthly dosing regimen is approved.

The brand is expected to gain once-monthly approval on both sides of the Atlantic next year and will compete with brands such as Merck

& Co’s well-established Fosamax.

Basel-based Roche international communications manager Libby Day confirmed that a review of Bonviva’s global agency needs was under way, adding that an appointment was imminent. GSK PR director Tina Phelan is also involved in the pitch process.

Virgo Health PR, which was appointed in July to handle UK PR for Bonviva, has been handling ad hoc global project work for the brand since CCA’s global contract expired in August. Virgo is one of the agencies in the running for the contract.

CCA’s US office continues to promote Boniva in America.

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