Ketchum picks up global brief for Wyeth’s Tygacil

WASHINGTON: Wyeth Pharmaceuticals has handed a global contract to promote Tygacil – an injectable antibiotic that may represent a major advance for the treatment of serious hospital-based infections such as the ‘superbug’ MRSA – to Ketchum.

The agency is understood to have beaten Burson-Marsteller and Porter Novelli in a pitch process held at Wyeth’s global HQ in Pennsylvania.

Wyeth plans to seek US Food and Drug Administration approval for initial indications of Tygacil (tigecycline), which is currently in Phase III clinical trials, within six months, with Europe following shortly afterwards.

Wyeth said its data shows Tygacil works as well as the ‘gold-standard’ vancomycin in treating serious infections, without the bacterial resistance found in other commonly used antibiotics.

A Wyeth spokeswoman confirmed that Ketchum’s Washington office, which already handles a variety of other Wyeth contracts, had scooped the business.

Wyeth is understood to be planning a simultaneous global launch of the product with Europe a priority.

Ketchum will set up regional hubs within its own offices across the globe, including its London bureau, to co-ordinate the programme, which will take in Latin America and Asia-Pacific, as well as Europe and the US.

MRSA stands for Methicillin-Resistant Staphylococcus Aureus but is shorthand for any strain of Staphylococcus bacteria that are resistant to one or more conventional antibiotics.

It causes serious infection of operation wounds and pneumonia and kills around 5,000 hospital patients a year in the UK alone.

The infection has hit the headlines in the UK in recent months, but is a growing global problem.

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