Move Awards Holding Companies Publicis, WPP

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NEW YORK ( -- Pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca said it will consolidate its agency business with two holding companies, Publicis Groupe and WPP Group.

A company spokeswoman declined to name the specific agencies within Publicis and WPP that AstraZeneca will work with for its creative accounts.

AstraZeneca's premier product is the prescription heartburn medicine Nexium, on which it spent more than $192 million in measured media last year, according to Taylor Nelson Sofres' CMR. Publicis' Klemtner Advertising, New York, which specializes in health care, handles Nexium and no change is expected.

AstraZeneca's next biggest ad expenditure was $2.5 million on nasal spray Rhinocort.

Grey Global Group and Interpublic Group of Cos. will continue with two previously awarded assignments. The holding companies will launch two new drugs from AstraZeneca in the coming months: the cholesterol-lowering Crestor, which should get a big direct-to-consumer advertising push, and the non-small-cell lung cancer drug Iressa.

AstraZeneca is based in Wilmington, Del.

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