JWT LANDS $80 MILLION CELEBREX ACCOUNT

Leo Burnett Loses the Business

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Co-marketers Pharmacia Corp. and Pfizer have shifted their estimated $80 million Celebrex account to WPP Group's J. Walter Thompson without a review, a spokeswoman for Pharmacia said.

JWT earlier this week lost a pitch for the successor drug to Celebrex, the popular arthritis treatment, to Interpublic Group of Cos.' Deutsch, New York. That yet-to-be-approved drug is referred to by its generic name, valdecoxib.

JWT apparently was impressive enough in the review to persuade Pharmacia and Pfizer to shift Celebrex to the New York shop from Bcom3 Group's Leo Burnett USA, Chicago.

The Pharmacia spokewoman said that "based on the future needs of the brand, Leo Burnett and Pharmacia-Pfizer agreed to part ways." The Celebrex shift is effective Sept. 15, Pharmacia said.

Pharmacia and Pfizer spent $78 million behind Celebrex last year and $31 million in the first quarter of 2001, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR.