LONDON: Novartis has assigned PR duties for its global heart failure portfolio to Cohn & Wolfe, following a review that featured several healthcare agencies.

The Holmes Report understands that Novartis is hoping to expand its range of heart failure drugs in light of the increasing competition faced by the rest of its lucrative cardiovascular portfolio. The six-figure brief covers strategy and brand vision for two heart failure products that are expected to launch in 2014.

Novartis’ current cardiovascular portfolio is led by $6 billion heart pressure medication Diovan, which began facing generic competition last year. It is currently developing two heart failure drugs – LCZ696 and RLX030 – and also acquired another late-stage heart failure drug – Relaxin – last year. The Swiss pharmaceutical giant also produces high blood pressure drugs Exforge and Tekturna/Rasilez.

It is understood that other agencies involved in the pitch included Chandler Chicco and Ruder Finn.

Neither Novartis nor Cohn & Wolfe responded to request for comment.