Just Health pitch wins Novartis UK account

Novartis UK has awarded briefs for its diabetes, neuroscience and cardiovascular portfolios to Just Health PR, after a three-way pitch.

The cardiovascular brief will involve media relations around three hypertension brands: Diovan, Exforge and Rasilez. ‘Doctors are already very comfortable with treating patients with a combination of therapies to help treat their current conditions,' said Just Health direc­tor Emma Crozier.

The diabetes brief will now work to focus on the promotion of Novartis' pre-licence product whose ­generic name is vildigliptin. This drug will target islets - the cells which make insulin and which are destroyed in people who have type 1    diabetes - in the pancreas, so the programme is expec­ted to include educating health professionals on islet dysfunction.

The neuroscience work will focus on Novartis' Alzheimer's treatment Exelon, a patch which aims to try and help to improve sufferers' memory.

Crozier's fellow director Jennie Talman will lead the business, reporting to head of comms Jason Browning and the various brand marketing teams.

A Novartis spokeswoman declined to say which agencies had been working on the accounts, but she did reveal that none of the incum­bents had re-pitched.

She added that the switch to Just was prompted by sev­eral internal changes in therapeutic areas. For example, the pharma company grouped cardiovascular with metabolism, which gave one incumbent a client clash.

Neither Red Door Communications, which has worked on the Novartis hyper­tension brands, nor Workhouse, which handled PR for Exelon, has worked on the accounts for a ­­year.

Agency, Ruder Finn already holds the global briefs for Novartis' cardiovascular and hyper­tension treatment brands.

Less than a year after launch, Just's clients include Pfizer UK (on an anti-smoking brief) and AIM-listed York Pharma (for comms on its fungal skin disease treatment Abasol).

The start-up is also being used by Bristol Myers Squibb for project work on its rheumatoid arthritis drug Orencia.

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