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Burson-Marsteller to launch cancer treatment in the UK

Published on 28/04/04 at 04:32pm

Burson-Marsteller, a subsidiary of the WPP advertising giant, has been appointed PR campaign handler for the UK launch of Velcade, first in a new class of proteasome inhibitor treatments for multiple myeloma, or cancer of the blood.

The treatment was originally developed by Millenium Pharmaceuticals but is now developed and marketed outside the US by Ortho Biotech.

Kate Triggs will head up the account, which BM secured in addition to an international remit through a competitive pitch last year.

The nature of the campaign is an ongoing awareness raising programme, according to an Ortho Biotech spokesperson. The reason for embarking on the campaign is that, while the condition is the second most common blood cancer after non-Hodgkin's lymphoma, public awareness of the disease is fairly limited and relatively little is known about the disease which affects 2,500 people in the UK each year.

The European Medicines Evaluation Agency (EMEA) issued a positive opinion in February recommending the approval of Velcade under exceptional circumstances, in order to treat multiple myeloma patients who have received a minimum of two prior therapies and are showing disease progression on the last therapy.

The European Commission is further expected to give Ortho Biotech regulatory approval of the medicine within the next three months, while in the US Millenium received FDA approval for the drug in May last year.

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