Healthcare: H&K and PN notch up AstraZeneca briefs

Hill & Knowlton and Porter Novelli have emerged triumphant from a scrap to secure global PR contracts for AstraZeneca's neuroscience brands Seroquel and Cerovive, respectively.

Seroquel is a fast-growing treatment for schizophrenia, while Cerovive is a pre-launch drug for strokes.

The agencies, which both pitched competitively for the accounts, replace Shire Health International, the incumbent for Seroquel globally, and Fleishman-Hillard's healthcare division, which handled Cerovive.

Phase III clinical trials are ongoing for Cerovive; AZ plans to file regulatory submissions in late 2006. Data unveiled in May showed Cerovive achieved 'statistical significance' in reducing disability following a stroke.

Cheshire-based AZ global director of product PR Margaret Morgan directed the review. Other agencies that presented credentials included Cohn & Wolfe and Red Door Communications (PRWeek, 13 May).

H&K is to put a three-country team on the Seroquel business, led by EMEA head of healthcare Nick May, alongside London, Holland and US-based staff.

H&K already works on other AZ business, such as a global remit for gastro product Nexium and various UK briefs.

The Cerovive work at PN, meanwhile, is being led by European healthcare practice leader Lee Tomkins, who joined the agency earlier this year from AZ, where she promoted lung cancer drug Iressa (PRWeek, 11 March).

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