The Exelon patch -- which recently won U.S. approval to help treat mild to moderate Alzheimer's disease patients -- is the first skin patch for the treatment of the disease. Deutsch will develop a multiplatform marketing-communications program for the product, including strategy, creative, customer relationship and direct marketing.
According to executives familiar with the matter, Publicis Groupe's Kaplan Thaler Group, MDC-backed Kirshenbaum Bond & Partners and WPP Group's Ogilvy & Mather were among the other agencies vying for the business.
Representatives for the agencies could not be immediately reached.
A Novartis spokeswoman confirmed Deutsch's appointment to the account.
Deutsch is a Novartis roster agency. It was tapped earlier this year for advertising duties for an over-the-counter version of the heartburn medication Prevacid, and it has done creative and online work for the cardiovascular drug Tekturna since 2002.
WPP's MindShare will handle media-planning and -buying for the Exelon account.