The goal is to help drive payer, physician, and patient demand for Amgen’s long-acting white blood cell booster, Neulasta. The first-generation therapy, Neupogen, required daily injections for up to two weeks. Rather than consider it for prophylactic use, physicians waited to intervene until after a patient developed an infection. Second-generation Neulasta requires just one dose per chemotherapy cycle (about once every three weeks). As a result, hundreds of thousands of chemotherapy patients at risk for infection are candidates for Neulasta at the onset of each chemo treatment cycle. However, patients and families need education about the risk of infection and the importance of prevention, plus how to manage the myriad other potential side effects of chemo.
Create an “educational healthcare marketing” campaign – to consumers and professionals, in multiple media – combining branded and non-branded elements.
Bryant Brown helped conceive and write the elements of the “By My Side: Taking Charge of Cancer Treatment” campaign, which featured Rob Lowe, the son of cancer survivors, in consumer-targeted promotions. The campaign leveraged Mr. Lowe’s celebrity status to generate web, national TV, and print coverage through interviews and talk show appearances.
Bryant Brown also wrote the website Chemotherapy.com, a popular resource for patients and caregivers seeking information not only about low white blood cell counts (and the resulting risk of fever and infections) but the full range of potential side effects of chemotherapy: physical, emotional, sexual, financial, etc.
The Neulasta launch was a historic success. Sales exceeded $110 million in the second quarter, well in excess of Wall Street estimates. As a result, Amgen raised its sales target to the mid-teens from single-digit growth. The company subsequently raised the target again to the mid-20% range.
Ultimately, sales exceeded even the higher target. In 2015, Neulasta was the 8th best-selling biotech drug in the world, with annual global sales at $4.7 billion.