Pharmacia Shifts Celebrex From Burnett to JWT

NEW YORK–Two days after losing a pitch for a new arthritis drug that will be co-marketed by Pfizer and Pharmacia, J. Walter Thompson in New York has landed ad duties for Pharmacia’s Celebrex, sources said. Billings are estimated at $80-$100 million.

The Celebrex account, which had not been in review, is suddenly being shifted from Leo Burnett in Chicago, which landed it in 1998. JWT could not immediately be reached but sources indicated that Peter Schweitzer, the agency’s worldwide CEO, announced the win internally on Wednesday.

Earlier in the week, JWT met with disappointment as it was bested by Deutsch here for the new drug. That yet-to-be-named drug carries billings of about $75 million.

The disappointment quickly became joy with the news of the Celebrex shift. Sources revealed that a strong showing in the previous pitch was a factor in the client’s decision to shift Celebrex. A message left with a Pharmacia representative was not immediately returned.