The company has approached several UK healthcare PR specialists with a request for information ahead of putting together a shortlist to pitch for the brief for the non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment.
It is understood that Amy Brice, international communications leader for the oncology arm of Roche is overseeing the pitch process. It is not clear whether incumbent Ketchum will compete to retain the account.
MabThera sits within the Roche portfolio of oncology brands alongside fellow cancer care medication including Avastin, Herceptin, Xeloda and Tarceva.
The Roche Group is the worlds leading provider of cancer care medication including anti-cancer treatments, supportive care products, and diagnostics. It also has a wideportfolio of tumour markers as well as a range of molecular oncology tests,
The MabThera drug is harvested from Chinese hamster ovary (CHO) cells in suspension and is supplied as sterile, clear, colourless, preservative-free liquid prepared for intravenous treatment.
MabThera competes in an increasingly crowded oncology cancer care product category, with challenges from fellow pharmaceutical companies jostling for market share including Novartis with its lymphoma drug Lucatumumab and several new products about to be introduced into the sector, including a tobacco-based vaccine from Swiss pharmaceutical company Bayer, which is currently undergoing human trials.
In April 2008, Roche selected healthcare shop Synergy to handle comms activity for its oncology drug Xeloda.
Synergy was awarded the account following a competitive pitch against four undisclosed agencies.
It replaced five-year incumbent Ketchum who declined to repitch for the account.
Roche was not available for comment regarding the review of its MabThera product.