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Sepracor Insomnia Drug Awarded to McCann

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NEW YORK Sepracor has assigned creative duties on its $50 million Estorra account to McCann-Erickson after a six-week review, sources said.

Interpublic Group's McCann here beat out Omnicom Group's Merkley Newman Harty & Partners, also in New York, to pick up the insomnia drug. McCann unit Torre Lazur-McCann Healthcare in Parsippany, N.J., already handles professional advertising on the brand. McCann's effort will be for the first direct-to-consumer campaign for Estorra.

IPG's Initiative Media will handle media chores, sources said.

Representatives for the agencies either could not be reached or referred calls to the client, which could not immediately be reached for comment.

WPP Group's Berlin Cameron/Red Cell in New York had been a finalist but pulled out of the process in an earlier round.

Estorra is expected to be on the market next year and will compete with Paris-based Sanofi-Synthelabo's Ambien, for which $65 million was spent on U.S. media in 2002, according to Nielsen-Monitor Plus.

Havas' Euro RSCG MVBMS Partners in New York and healthcare shop Abelson-Taylor in Chicago handle ad duties on Ambien.

Clinical trials have shown that Estorra can be taken for longer than the recommended seven to 10 days for Ambien and Sonata, according to Sepracor's research.