A bent carrot takes center stage in Endo's first brand ads for Xiaflex to treat Peyronie's disease (Endo International)

En­do taps bent veg­gie in first Xi­aflex brand cam­paign for Pey­ronie's dis­ease curved erec­tion con­di­tion

En­do’s last trip to the gro­cery store en­list­ed a va­ri­ety of pro­duce to raise aware­ness about curved erec­tions in Pey­ronie’s dis­ease. Now in its first brand­ed cam­paign for Xi­aflex, En­do set­tles on just one veg­etable — a car­rot.

The bright or­ange vi­su­al is meant to be sim­ple and strik­ing, con­tin­u­ing to re­mind men they’re not alone, but al­so dodg­ing stri­dent net­work cen­sors and in­tro­duc­ing the brand name for the first time, En­do’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of men’s health mar­ket­ing Justin Mat­tice said.

Justin Mat­tice

“Taste and tone is ab­solute­ly crit­i­cal,” he said. “We’re talk­ing about a con­di­tion that is a curved pe­nis. It needs to be  fac­tu­al­ized, med­ical and it can’t be fun­ny. And it needs to be ap­pro­pri­ate for TV — an ex­treme­ly dif­fi­cult task.”

En­do laid the ground­work for the Xi­aflex ad with its 2019 un­brand­ed “Learn about PD” cam­paign se­ries of ads us­ing crooked pro­duce to con­vey its mes­sage. Men looked at bent cu­cum­bers, ba­nanas and pep­pers, while a voiceover not­ed that “guys come in all shapes and sizes.” The nar­ra­tor goes on to sug­gest a painful or new bump may be a rea­son to talk to a doc­tor.

En­do’s Pey­ronie’s dis­ease aware­ness ads date back to 2017, with ef­forts to des­tig­ma­tize and open up con­ver­sa­tions. Mat­tice likened the work to Pfiz­er’s Vi­a­gra and Eli Lil­ly’s Cialis mar­ket­ing that changed the “dark and scary” term “im­po­tence” in­to the more friend­ly med­ical term “erec­tile dys­func­tion” or just ED. En­do wants to change Pey­ronie’s dis­ease un­fa­mil­iar­i­ty and po­ten­tial fear to eas­i­er-to-un­der­stand erec­tile cur­va­ture or sim­ply a lump, bump or curve, Mat­tice said.

Just as men launched in­to “door knob con­ver­sa­tions” with doc­tors at the end of an­nu­al phys­i­cals to bring up ED, En­do wants men to men­tion the curved car­rot they saw on TV if that’s an is­sue for them.

“All they have to say now is ‘Doc, I saw an ad on TV with a curved car­rot and I be­lieve I have that’ and in­stant­ly, from what we’ve learned, whether a treat­ing physi­cian or not, they’ll know what they mean,” Mat­tice said.

En­do’s end goal? Short­en the cur­rent typ­i­cal time to di­ag­no­sis now at 1 1/2 to four years. By dri­ving peo­ple di­rect­ly to the Xi­aflex web­site — with the van­i­ty URL Bent­Car­rrot.com — po­ten­tial pa­tients and in­ter­est­ed physi­cians can get more de­tailed in­for­ma­tion in­clud­ing a data­base of the spe­cial­ty urol­o­gists trained to ad­min­is­ter Xi­aflex in­jec­tions.

While En­do es­chews hu­mor in its ads, Mat­tice ad­mit­ted the phar­ma doesn’t have much con­trol over or­gan­ic men­tions that have hap­pened in me­dia in­clud­ing “The Howard Stern Show” and on “Sat­ur­day Night Live.”

It does val­i­date En­do’s aware­ness work though. On SNL’s most re­cent show, in fact, guest host Ja­son Sudeikis spoofs day­time TV show Ellen as “Mellen,” a man’s man talk show skew­er­ing tox­ic mas­culin­i­ty. It ends not­ing it is “Spon­sored by Pey­ronies (sic) dis­ease — not the treat­ment, the ac­tu­al dis­ease.”

Along with Pey­ronie’s dis­ease, En­do’s Xi­aflex is ap­proved to treat Dupuytren’s con­trac­ture, a con­di­tion that caus­es a per­son’s fin­gers to in­vol­un­tary bend in­ward. En­do be­gan aware­ness ads for that con­di­tion in 2017, and in 2019 tapped celebri­ty spokesper­son, and pa­tient, for­mer Den­ver Bron­co star quar­ter­back John El­way to draw broad­er at­ten­tion.

Xi­aflex was first ap­proved in 2013, but sales have risen steadi­ly dur­ing the aware­ness ad years. More re­cent­ly, rev­enues re-ac­cel­er­at­ed as physi­cian of­fice vis­its re­sumed. Six-month sales for 2021 reached $207 mil­lion, up 68% over $123 mil­lion for the same pe­ri­od in 2020.

Last year, En­do bought the re­main­ing shares of BioSpecifics Tech­nolo­gies in a $540 mil­lion deal, giv­ing the phar­ma full own­er­ship of Xi­aflex along with the more re­cent­ly FDA-green­lit treat­ment Qwo, the first in­jectable ap­proved to treat cel­lulite in women.

Graphic: Alexander Lefterov for Endpoints News

Small biotechs with big drug am­bi­tions threat­en to up­end the tra­di­tion­al drug launch play­book

Of the countless decisions Vlad Coric had to make as Biohaven’s CEO over the past seven years, there was one that felt particularly nerve-wracking: Instead of selling to a Big Pharma, the company decided it would commercialize its migraine drug itself.

“I remember some investors yelling and pounding on the table like, you can’t do this. What are you thinking? You’re going to get crushed by AbbVie,” he recalled.

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Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: Pfiz­er de­buts Pre­vnar 20 TV ads; Lil­ly gets first FDA 2022 pro­mo slap down let­ter

Pfizer debuted its first TV ad for its Prevnar 20 next-generation pneumococcal pneumonia vaccine. In the 60-second spot, several people (actor portrayals) with their ages listed as 65 or older are shown walking into a clinic as they turn to say they’re getting vaccinated with Prevnar 20 because they’re at risk.

The update to Pfizer’s blockbuster Prevnar 13 vaccine was approved in June, and as its name suggests is a vaccine for 20 serotypes — the original 13 plus seven more that cause pneumococcal disease. Pfizer used to spend heavily on TV ads to promote Prevnar 13 in 2018 and 2019 but cut back its TV budgets in the past two fall and winter seasonal spending cycles. Prevnar had been Pfizer’s top-selling drug, notching sales of just under $6 billion in 2020, and was the world’s top-selling vaccine before the Covid-19 vaccines came to market last year.

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Albert Bourla (Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images)

UP­DAT­ED: Pfiz­er fields a CRL for a $295M rare dis­ease play, giv­ing ri­val a big head start

Pfizer won’t be adding a new rare disease drug to the franchise club — for now, anyway.

The pharma giant put out word that their FDA application for the growth hormone therapy somatrogon got the regulatory heave-ho, though they didn’t even hint at a reason for the CRL. Following standard operating procedure, Pfizer said in a terse missive that they would be working with regulators on a followup.

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Alexander Lefterov/Endpoints News

A new can­cer im­munother­a­py brings cau­tious hope for a field long await­ing the next big break­through

Bob Seibert sat silent across from his daughter at their favorite Spanish restaurant near his home in Charleston County, SC, their paella growing cold as he read through all the places in his body doctors found tumors.

He had texted his wife, a pediatric intensive care nurse, when he got the alert that his online chart was ready. Although he saw immediately it was bad, many of the terms — peritoneal, right iliac — were inscrutable. But she was five hours downstate, at a loud group dinner the night before another daughter’s cheer competition.

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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.

Roy Baynes, Merck

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Despite some heavy blowback from analysts, Merck execs maintained an upbeat attitude about the market potential of its chronic cough drug gefapixant. But the confidence may be fading somewhat today as Merck puts out news that the FDA is handing back its application with a CRL.

Dubbed by Merck’s development chief Roy Baynes as a “pipeline in a product” with a variety of potential uses, Merck had fielded positive late-stage data demonstrating the drug’s ability to combat chronic cough. The drug dramatically reduced chronic cough in Phase III, but so did placebo, leaving Merck’s research team with a marginal success on the p-value side of the equation.

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Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (AP Photo/Wilfredo Lee, File)

Opin­ion: Flori­da is so mAb crazy, Ron De­San­tis wants to use mAbs that don't work

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Without further ado, let’s break down his statement from last night, line by line, adjective by adjective.

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Bristol Myers Squibb recently joined 11 of its peer pharma companies in limiting how many contract pharmacies can access certain drugs discounted by a federal program known as 340B.

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Joaquin Duato, J&J CEO (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP)

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Joaquin Duato stepped away from the sideline and directly into the spotlight on Tuesday, delivering his first quarterly review for J&J as its newly-tapped CEO after an 11-year run in senior posts. And he had some mixed financial news to deliver today while laying claim to a string of blockbuster drugs in the making and outlining an appetite for small and medium-sized M&A deals.

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