EAST HANOVER, NJ: Novartis has selected Ketchum to handle communications for Enablex, an overactive-bladder treatment, currently awaiting FDA approval.
The agency's immediate focus will be on pre-launch activities, but Kate King, associate director of PR for Novartis, said Ketchum would continue to work on the business indefinitely, and should be considered AOR for the drug.
The assignment is for US efforts only, but David Catlett, Ketchum's director of global healthcare, said the agency was "in talks" about the possibility of handling the account globally. According to Catlett, the drug is expected to gain approval in the US before any other country, sometime next year.
Enablex became the property of Novartis earlier this year, when Pfizer sold it to avoid any marketing conflicts of interest following its acquisition of Pharmacia. Detrol, another overactive-bladder medication, was Pharmacia's, so the Federal Trade Commission ruled the joint entity would cause anticompetitive harm by keeping both drugs.
Novartis is believed to have gotten a deal on Enablex, which it bought for $225 million, because of how close the drug was to gaining FDA approval. The average cost to bring a new drug to market is estimated at $800 million. Analysts have said annual sales of Enablex could reach $1 billion.