Draftfcb Health creates spin-off to handle Roche business

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Manhattan-based Area 23, an offshoot of Draftfcb Healthcare, will service several clients including Roche.

The spin-off is the second one created this year by the Interpublic Group agency, which formed Project X-Ray to handle Pfizer business, including antibiotic Zmax, migraine drug Relpax and its women's health line.

Among Area 23's existing accounts will be Roche's Phase III rheumatoid arthritis compound Actemra, US and global, and its anemia biologic Mircera, whose US patents are the subject of an ongoing legal dispute with Amgen which could limit the Roche drug to ex-US markets. (A judge agreed with Amgen this month, and the biotech said it will move to block Mircera's US commercialization.) Area 23 is already working on the overseas launches.

Other accounts include GlaxoSmithKline's Lamictal for bipolar and epilepsy, US, as well as some smaller brands from other manufacturers. The 70-person office will be headed by two creative directors, Melissa Cahill and Steve Bateman, and by Mike Guarino, managing director.

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