Amgen's Twitter campaign #DearAsthma inspired thousands of people to express struggles and frustrations with the disease

Am­gen’s #Dear­Asth­ma spon­sored tweet lands big on game day, spark­ing thou­sands to re­spond

Am­gen want­ed to know how peo­ple with asth­ma re­al­ly felt about dai­ly life with the dis­ease. So it bought a pro­mot­ed tweet on Twit­ter not­ing the not-so-sim­ple re­al­i­ties of life with asth­ma and end­ed the post with a #Dear­Asth­ma hash­tag, a mega­phone emo­ji and a re-tweet but­ton.

That was just over one week ago and the re­spons­es haven’t stopped. More than 7,000 posts so far on Twit­ter replied to #Dear­Asth­ma to de­tail strug­gles of dai­ly life, ex­press­ing hu­mor, frus­tra­tion and some­times anger. More than a few f-bombs have been typed or gif-ed in re­ply to com­mu­ni­cate just how much many peo­ple “hate” the dis­ease.

One per­son lined up their in­haler “col­lec­tion,” while an­oth­er showed off a tat­too de­pict­ing an in­haler with a rib­bon around it that reads: “It ain’t easy bein’ wheezy.” An­oth­er replied to the hash­tag: “Fi­nal­ly a trend for me! Had some pret­ty bad asth­ma at­tacks this week to the point where I couldn’t even laugh.”

An ER doc­tor even re­spond­ed with a tweet-stream de­tail­ing how he and his team saved a young man dur­ing a se­vere asth­ma at­tack in a step-by-step se­ries of moves that an­oth­er physi­cian could fol­low.

Kate Tansey Chevlen

The 7,000 tweets re­spond­ing to that sin­gle pro­mot­ed tweet came from 5,000 unique ac­counts and added to a whop­ping so­cial me­dia to­tal of 90 mil­lion im­pres­sions for the #Dear­Asth­ma cam­paign run­ning on Twit­ter, In­sta­gram and Face­book, Kate Tansey Chevlen, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor in mar­ket­ing at Am­gen, said.

The Jan­u­ary 16th spon­sored tweet place­ment was pur­pose­ful. Last Sun­day was a big wild-card NFL play­off game day, and Am­gen hoped that the like­ly high traf­fic lev­els all day might help spur en­gage­ment with fans log­ging in to check scores and game high­lights.

“Asth­ma is a well known dis­ease but it has a se­ri­ous im­pact on peo­ple’s lives that’s of­ten un­der-ap­pre­ci­at­ed,” Chevlen said. “We re­al­ly want­ed to shine a spot­light on the ex­pe­ri­ence that peo­ple got through day in and day out.”

The game-day #Dear­Asth­ma tweet is just one part of the broad­er cam­paign that launched in De­cem­ber meant to rec­og­nize those dai­ly re­al­i­ties of liv­ing with asth­ma. The so­cial me­dia work us­es bright pur­ple and yel­low il­lus­tra­tion and an­i­ma­tion video posts to cre­ate an ap­proach­able style, Chevlen said, with ad­di­tion­al cre­ative ex­e­cu­tions in the se­ries set to launch next month.

Along with vent­ing about dai­ly breath­ing strug­gles – and cough­ing spells mis­tak­en for Covid-19 in­fec­tion – some re-tweet­ers al­so com­plained about the high cost of med­i­cines. One not­ed, “On­ly in the USA I have to pay to breathe.”

“We un­der­stand the frus­tra­tion that peo­ple liv­ing with asth­ma may feel when it comes to all as­pects of their dis­ease in­clud­ing asth­ma-re­lat­ed health­care costs,” Chevlen said, adding the phar­ma would en­cour­age pa­tients to talk to their asth­ma doc­tor about pos­si­ble so­lu­tions. She and Am­gen mar­ket­ing team mem­bers are cur­rent­ly “comb­ing through” the many com­ments for in­sights and bet­ter un­der­stand­ing of asth­ma pa­tients.

#Dear­Asth­ma is part of Am­gen’s broad­er aware­ness push in asth­ma called “Break the Cy­cle.” On its cam­paign web­site, celebri­ty spokesper­son – E! chan­nel host Ni­na Park­er – who al­so has asth­ma, de­tails her per­son­al sto­ry along with oth­er re­al pa­tients about mis­in­for­ma­tion and even em­bar­rass­ment around hav­ing asth­ma. The site asks peo­ple to con­sid­er if their asth­ma may be un­con­trolled and, along with ed­u­ca­tion re­sources, in­cludes a link for a free asth­ma track­er that at­tach­es to an in­haler and counts puffs used.

While the #Dear­Asth­ma cam­paign is un­brand­ed, Am­gen and part­ner As­traZeneca re­cent­ly got FDA ap­proval for Tezspire to treat un­con­trolled asth­ma. The med­i­cine, which tar­gets thymic stro­mal lym­phopoi­etin (TSLP), is a first-in-class that nabbed a broad in­di­ca­tion for se­vere asth­ma pa­tients re­gard­less of eosinophilic or al­ler­gic phe­no­type, which may help Tezspire gain trac­tion in a crowd­ed se­vere asth­ma field.

Glax­o­SmithK­line’s Nu­cala and As­traZeneca’s Fasen­ra are both ap­proved to treat eosinophilic asth­ma, while Sanofi and Re­gen­eron’s Dupix­ent is in­di­cat­ed for eosinophilic or oral cor­ti­cos­teroid de­pen­dent asth­ma.

Am­gen’s Su­san Sweeney, se­nior vice pres­i­dent of glob­al mar­ket­ing, ac­cess and ca­pa­bil­i­ties, told End­points News in a re­cent in­ter­view that she ex­pects Tezspire will go to mar­ket high­light­ing its broad ap­plic­a­bil­i­ty re­gard­less of eosinophilic sta­tus, but added she ex­pects at least ini­tial­ly, more in­ter­est from pa­tients with low eosinophil counts.

Illustration: Assistant Editor Kathy Wong for Endpoints News

How Pur­due's $272M ad­dic­tion pay­out fund­ed a new home for its dis­card­ed non-opi­oid re­search

Don Kyle spent more than 20 years working for Purdue Pharma, right through the US opioid epidemic that led to the company’s rise and eventual infamy. But contrary to Purdue’s focus on OxyContin, Kyle was researching non-opioid painkillers — that is, until the company shelved his research.

As the company’s legal troubles mounted, Kyle found an unlikely way to reboot the project. In 2019, he took his work to an Oklahoma State University center that’s slated to receive more than two-thirds of the state’s $272 million settlement with Purdue over claims that the drugmaker’s behavior ignited the epidemic of opioid use and abuse.

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Singer Nick Jonas is back at work for Dexcom, this time for its new G7 glucose monitor.

Dex­com's spokescelebri­ty Nick Jonas re­turns to Su­per Bowl in new glu­cose mon­i­tor com­mer­cial

Dexcom is going back to the Super Bowl with its pop singer and patient spokesperson Nick Jonas. Jonas takes center stage as the lone figure in the 30-second commercial showcasing Dexcom’s next-generation G7 continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) device.

Jonas’ sleight-of-hand tricks populate the commercial — he pinches his empty fingers together and pops them open to reveal the small CGM — even as he ends the ad, saying, “It’s not magic. It just feels that way.” Jonas then disappears in a puff of smoke.

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President Joe Biden at the State of the Union address with Vice President Kamala Harris and House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (Patrick Semansky/AP Images)

The drug pric­ing pres­i­dent: Biden warns of ve­to for any IRA re­peal at­tempts

President Joe Biden made clear in his “finish the job” State of the Union address last night that one of those jobs to be finished is insulin prices.

Biden’s push again to tackle insulin prices, after Republicans rebuffed the idea last summer and just after Biden won Medicare drug price negotiations/caps via the Inflation Reduction Act, shows how heavily he’s leaning into this work.

Utpal Koppikar, new Verily CFO

Ex­clu­sive: Ver­i­ly wel­comes Atara Bio­ther­a­peu­tics vet­er­an as new CFO

Verily, Alphabet’s life sciences outfit, has plucked a new CFO from the ranks of Atara Biotherapeutics, the company announced on Wednesday.

Utpal Koppikar joins Verily after a nearly five-year stint as CFO and senior VP at Atara, though his résumé also boasts roles at Gilead and Amgen.

The news follows a major reshuffling at Verily, including several senior departures earlier this year and a round of layoffs.

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Richard Francis, newly-appointed Teva CEO (Novartis via Facebook)

New Te­va CEO Richard Fran­cis repri­or­i­tizes to 'get back to growth'

Six weeks into his new role at the helm of Teva Pharmaceutical, Richard Francis said it’s time to “get back to growth,” starting with a good look at the company’s priorities.

The chief executive has kicked off a strategic review, he announced during Teva’s quarterly call, which will continue over the next several months and produce results sometime in the middle of 2023. That means some pipeline cuts may be in store, he told Endpoints News, while declining to offer much more detail.

Sanofi is renewing its #VaccinesForDreams campaign with more stories, such as Juan's in Argentina (Sanofi)

Sanofi re­news so­cial cam­paign to re­mind that vac­cines let peo­ple ‘Dream Big’

Sanofi is highlighting people’s dreams — both big and small — to make the point that vaccines make them possible.

The renewed “Dream Big” global social media campaign’s newest dreamer is Juan, a teacher in the Misiones rainforest in Argentina whose story is told through videos on Instagram and Sanofi’s website with the hashtag #VaccinesForDreams.

The campaign ties to Sanofi’s broader umbrella initiative “Vaccine Stories” to promote the value of vaccines and drive awareness of the need for improved vaccination coverage.

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Rupert Vessey, Bristol Myers Squibb head of research and early development

Up­dat­ed: R&D tur­bu­lence at Bris­tol My­ers now in­cludes the end of a $650M al­liance and the de­par­ture of a top re­search cham­pi­on

This morning biotech Dragonfly put out word that Bristol Myers Squibb has handed back all rights to its IL-12 clinical-stage drug after spending $650 million to advance it into the clinic.

The news arrives amid a turbulent R&D stage for the pharma giant, which late last week highlighted Rupert Vessey’s decision to depart this summer as head of early-stage R&D following a crucial three-year stretch after he jumped to Bristol Myers in the big Celgene buyout. During that time he struck a series of deals for Bristol Myers, and also shepherded a number of Celgene programs down the pipeline, playing a major role for a lineup of biotechs which depended on him to champion their drugs.

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Bill Anderson, incoming Bayer CEO (David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Bay­er taps Roche's Bill An­der­son to lead phar­ma gi­ant as CEO

We now know where Roche’s ex-pharma chief Bill Anderson is going.

German pharma giant Bayer announced Wednesday that Anderson will be taking on the role as CEO, less than six weeks after Anderson stepped down from his perch at Roche as head of the group’s pharmaceutical division.

Roche announced back in December that Anderson would depart on Dec. 31 to “pursue opportunities outside of Roche.” His replacement, Genentech vet and Roche’s current head of global product strategy, Teresa Graham, will start her role in March.

Iya Khalil, Merck VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences (Novartis)

Mer­ck-No­var­tis re­volv­ing door spins again as AI leader Iya Khalil switch­es phar­mas

As talk of AI this-and-that gobbles up headline after headline, one Big Pharma is losing its AI leader as she transitions to another drug giant: Iya Khalil will trade in her hat as Novartis’ go-to expert and leader in the space for Merck as VP and head of data, AI and genome sciences next week.

After nearly three years leading the artificial intelligence team at Novartis — as Big Pharma and biotechs alike latch onto the ripening AI-for-drug-discovery mode of operation — Khalil will switch employers to head up a similar post at Merck, where she’ll work out of Cambridge, MA beginning Feb. 13, the company tells Endpoints News.