ST. LOUIS: Bayer has tapped Fleishman-Hillard to lead the marketing charge for its breakthrough new oncology therapy.
Bayer, a dollars 31 billion German healthcare and chemical company, has yet to announce concrete plans for marketing the new drug, so it's not possible to pin down exactly how large the business will be. But Betsey Solberg, a regional president in F-H's Kansas City office, said the account will be a very substantial one. 'Because of where the market is going, it will be a huge program,' she said.
Solberg described the new treatment as 'a breakthrough category of oncology medication.' Though still unnamed, it is classified as an anti-angiogenesis drug for the treatment of non-small-cell lung, pancreatic and ovarian cancer.
As the first to market with this type of treatment, Bayer is planning a massive marketing push to capture market share before competitors can produce similar products.
PR for the therapy will begin well before the Food and Drug Administration approves its use. Pharmaceutical suppliers have increasingly been marketing new products directly to consumers, hoping to create demand that will fuel acceptance in the medical community.
F-H has already marshaled an account team to work on the Bayer business with representatives in Europe, Asia, North America and South America.
The agency's offices in DC, New York, Frankfurt, Canada, and Japan, as well as affiliates in Latin America, were all involved in pitching for the account.
F-H's healthcare practice placed fifth in PRWeek's healthcare agency rankings this year, with roughly dollars 19.9 million in 1998 income, up from dollars 16.2 million in 1997. Healthcare PR represented 15% of F-H's 1998 PR income. Needless to say, the Bayer account will provide a major financial boost.
Bayer is the US. subsidiary of Multinational Bayer. Last year, the company boasted sales of dollars 8.1 billion, 26% of Bayer's worldwide income. 53% of that income came from the healthcare and life sciences sector, with the remaining 47% from chemicals.