MEC Expands Its U.S. Healthcare Offering With 2 New Pharma Wins

MEC is ending 2014 with some major momentum in the new business arena. Last week, it won a sizable piece of communications planning work from L’Oreal that included Lancome and select designer fragrance brands, including Giorgio Armani and Yves Saint Laurent.

Now sources report that the agency — part of WPP’s GroupM — has won two significant pieces of business, both after reviews, that will help solidify its presence in the healthcare space.

The wins include assignments from Biogen and the U.S. arm of Japanese-based Otsuka Pharmaceutical. Combined spending on the two assignments is estimated at $150 million. Throw in the L’Oreal USA assignment and the total approaches $300 million, sources said.

For Biogen, MEC will share media duties with healthcare specialist Communications Media Inc. The scope of work includes planning, buying, analytics and insights for the company’s portfolio of drugs used to treat multiple sclerosis.



According to company financial reports, Biogen is the leader in MS research and holds a huge share of the U.S. market for drugs designed to treat the disease, with brands including Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera.

For Otsuka, MEC will help launch a new drug used to treat depression and schizophrenia called Brexpiprazole, a successor drug to Aripiprazole, which has been marketed under the brand name Abilify. The scope for that assignment includes media planning and buying, analytics and insights. MEC will work closely with Lundbeck, a company that has a development and commercialization alliance with Otsuka for certain drugs in North America and other regions.

In 2013, Otsuka America spent a total of $142 million on measured media, while Biogen spent around $7 million, according to Kantar.

MEC officials didn’t immediately respond to queries about the assignments. A rep for Biogen did not respond to an email query seeking comment. Otsuka could not be immediately reached.

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