Healthcare: Roche picks agencies for cancer care work

Leading drugs manufacturer Roche has selected four agencies as preferred PR partners to work on its expansive cancer care products portfolio.

Following a pitch process, the Swiss pharmaceutical company has selected longstanding incumbent Ketchum, alongside Virgo Health, Aurora Communications and Porter Novelli.

The four agencies will offer PR support across all Roche's UK oncology business for the next three to four years - meaning there will be no pitches to promote such products until 2014 at the earliest.

Roche is a leading provider of cancer care products including anti-cancer medicines, focused treatments and diagnostics. The company has now begun to distribute PR briefs for its oncology business among the four new partner agencies and will continue this strategy moving forward.

Roche has already handed Virgo Health a brief for its promising BRAF inhibitor skin cancer product. Porter Novelli will handle comms for non-Hodgkin's lymphoma treatment MabThera, and Aurora has been handed a brief for chemotherapy drug Xeloda.

Roche senior PR strategy manager Greg Page said of the shake-up: 'We did this so that we can get more synergy between our medical education activities and our PR activities, as well better value from the agencies.'

Last week the company announced a four per cent year-on-year growth in its 2010 profits. Roche's oncology division saw the biggest growth across its pharma operations, reporting a seven per cent increase to 21.3bn Swiss francs, accounting for over half of all the company's pharma sales.

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