Rivaroxaban is due to launch late this year following a regulatory filing to the European Medicines Agency at the end of October 2007.
Athena won the account following a three-way pitch. The agency's brief is to strategically advise on and implement an advocacy, medical education and media relations campaign from pre-launch through to launch and beyond.
The initial indication for the drug will be for the prevention of venous thromboembolism (VTE) in patients undergoing major orthopaedic surgery of the lower limbs.
The five-strong team will be led by account director Emma Keeling.
VTE has recently been the subject of public, political and media interest following the publication of a report last year. The All-Party Parliamentary Thrombosis Group published a report in November 2007 following an audit of hospital trusts.
The report found only 32 per cent of hospital trusts are taking steps to risk assess patients for VTE and bring their practices in line with NICE and government recommendations.
Athena has also bolstered its team with the appointment of Steven Dwyer as a senior account executive. He joins from the same position at healthcare PR shop Packer Forbes Communications. He will work with the Pfizer oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb psychiatry and LEO Pharma psoriasis account teams.