Healthcare: Astellas Europe to stage product comms pitches

Astellas, the drugs company created from the merger of Japanese firms Yamanouchi and Fujisawa, is set to bolster its agency support across Europe with pitches on the cards for brands including advanced prostate cancer treatment Eligard.

A spokesman for Astellas, which came into being at a global level on 1 April, confirmed this week that it is planning to bring in PR firms to promote potential money-spinners, which also include Omnic OCAS, across the Continent.

Pitches for contracts for Eligard and Omnic OCAS were likely 'later this year', he said.

The spokesman added it was likely that both brands would be supported by media relations and med ed, but decisions on the make-up of PR briefs for each product were yet to be taken.

Omnic OCAS, designed to treat benign prostatic hyperplasia, will be branded Flomaxtra XL in the UK and is, the spokesman said, a 'new formulation' of pre-existing treatment Flomax.

Other PR agencies retained by Astellas Europe include Ashley Communications, which promotes overactive-bladder treatment Vesicare across the Continent.

The agency was first brought in by Yamanouchi more than two years ago.

Astellas, whose name relates to a Japanese word that means 'shine on tomorrow', has become Japan's biggest drugs company by sales, behind Takeda.

The company wants to grow its business in fields such as dermatology, urology and immunology.

The chairman and CEO of Astellas Europe, based in Staines, Middlesex, is Yasuo Ishii.

The company is headquartered in Tokyo and has 17,000 staff globally - more than 3,000 of them in Europe.

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