Merck hunts agency for anti-obesity drug

PENNSLYLVANIa: Drugs giant Merck & Co has held talks with leading international agencies over a contract to handle PR for a ­pre-launch anti-obesity product.

PRWeek has learned that around seven of the world's biggest agencies have pitched to Merck in the US.

Agencies were only provided with ‘very general' information about the product, according to sources, with Merck asking agencies how they would approach the handling of comms for a product aimed at tackling the Western world's obesity problem.

It is understood that the product - currently without a full name - could be around three years from launch and would work in a broadly similar way to Sanofi-Aventis's Acomplia drug.

In early October, Merck revealed that it had put one obesity treatment - MK-0577 - ‘on hold' after disappointing clinical trials. It is not clear what impact this will have on the agency-hiring process.

Merck said that it was unable to comment on the pitch process.

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