Biohaven takes migraine campaign to patients' Twitter feeds, months ahead of Pfizer takeover
Two weeks ago, Biohaven hit an all-time high in weekly Nurtec prescriptions. CEO Vlad Coric attributes at least some of that success to a new interactive Twitter campaign that encourages patients to free their feed of potential migraine triggers.
Earlier this month, Biohaven in partnership with Twitter launched the #RelieveYourFeed campaign that allows users to customize their app settings based on their migraine triggers.
“Need some sleep?” the ad asks. Click the ad to mute notifications. “Sensitive to light?” Lower the brightness. “Stress level rising?” Mute certain words from your feed. Coric said Biohaven has been getting feedback from all kinds of users — those with and without migraine — who learned how to modulate their settings through the ad.
#RelieveYourFeed of triggers with Nurtec ODT.
For acute treatment of migraine & preventive treatment of episodic migraine in adults. Don't take if allergic to Nurtec ODT. Most common side effects were nausea (2.7%) and indigestion/stomach pain (2.4%). PI https://t.co/wZDdZ9yfXi
— Nurtec® ODT (rimegepant) (@NurtecODT) June 7, 2022
“The whole campaign is about empowerment,” Coric told Endpoints News. “If you can give people tools to improve their condition, you know, that’s what we do in the healthcare industry.”
The bottom of each slide includes safety information about Nurtec ODT, Biohaven’s dissolving pill approved to both treat and prevent migraine. Coric said weekly prescriptions surpassed 37,000 a couple of weeks ago. They’ve also seen more than 40,000 clicks on their website as a result of the campaign launch, according to a spokesperson.
“I think this campaign helped to boost us over that line,” he said.
That’s good news for Pfizer, which put down $11.6 billion back in May to snap up Biohaven and its entire CGRP portfolio. That deal is expected to close in the “coming months,” Coric said, though he was unable to provide more detail than that.
Nurtec belongs to a class of medicines called calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) receptor antagonists. It works by blocking the action of a natural substance in the body responsible for migraine headaches. The drug snagged its first approval as an acute treatment back in February 2020, and Biohaven has since expanded the label to include the prevention of episodic migraines.
Just a few months ago, it celebrated a win in the EU for both acute and prophylactic treatment of migraines, where it will be marketed as Vydura.
Oral drugs like Nurtec and AbbVie’s Qulipta are poised to needle out the first drugs approved to prevent migraines, including Emgality, which typically require patients to self-inject treatments. Nurtec beat Qulipta to the punch in migraine prevention, though AbbVie remains a fierce competitor in the oral migraine market.
“When we first launched, everyone said we were going to get crushed by AbbVie,” Coric said. “We have to be smarter and quicker than our larger pharma competitors. That’s the only way we can outmaneuver them.”
The #RelieveYourFeed is just one example of Biohaven’s attempt to differentiate itself. In the past, the company has also turned to a suite of celebrity spokespeople to help market Nurtec, including actress and TV host Whoopi Goldberg, reality star Khloé Kardashian and the NASCAR Rick Ware racing team.
AbbVie also has some celebrities on its side, recruiting tennis star and migraine sufferer Serena Williams to its “Anytime, Anywhere” campaign for its acute migraine treatment Ubrelvy.
“I think we have a drug that’s differentiated from our competitor,” Coric said. “We’re using tools and social media and other to be competitive, and it’s healthy because it is not only innovating on the drug side, we’re also innovating on the business side and the media side.”
Nurtec raked in $463 million last year, with $190 million of that in the fourth quarter alone. The drug made $124 million in the first quarter of this year. Meanwhile, Qulipta sold $11 million in Q1, though analysts have predicted peak sales of more than a billion dollars.
Biohaven is also awaiting word from the FDA on its intranasal CGRP follow-on drug, zavegepant.
“We’re in the typical one-year period of back and forth, everything’s going routinely,” Coric said.