Project X-Ray andArea 23, two Manhattan agencies that spun out of Interpublic Group’s DraftfcbHealthcare unit last year, are merging.

Project X-Ray, which handled several Pfizer accounts, will be absorbed by Area23, a full-service healthcare communications business located on 23rd street.Its larger counterpart, Draftfcb Healthcare, is on 33rd.

The 70-person,mid-sized agency was conceived toservice clients including Roche’s Phase III rheumatoid arthritiscompound Actemra, US and global, and its anemia biologic Mircera, global. Itwill now handle Project X-Ray’s Pfizer business, including antibiotic Zmax andmigraine drug Relpax.

Other Area 23accounts include the Boehringer Ingelheim Mycardis franchise (hypertension), anew assignment, and GlaxoSmithKline’s Lamictal (bipolar/epilepsy), which hasbeen handled by Draftfcb Healthcare since 2003.

Matt Lane, whohad been EVP/group management director for Project X-Ray, has joined Area 23,according to an announcement yesterday heralding the agency’s “official”launch.

Area 23 providesa blend of professional, patient and managed care services for the accounts.