Bioregnum, R&D

Going viral? J&J tries to spark a Twitterstorm for the latest data on its HIV med

When you set out to make a blockbuster, can a Twitterstorm help?

About 9 months after the FDA OK’d J&J’s 4-in-1 HIV pill Symtuza, the pharma giant rolled out new Phase III data Thursday that demonstrates how newly diagnosed HIV patients are likely to squelch any signs of the virus if they jump on drug within 14 days of diagnosis. And they offered canned tweets in the PR to help spread the word — fast.

Bottom line:

In the primary intent-to-treat (ITT) analysis, 84% (92/109) of patients achieved undetectable viral loads (viral load <50 c/mL; FDA-snapshot), and 8% (9/109) of patients had virologic failure (viral load ≥50 c/mL; FDA-snapshot) at 48 weeks.

J&J also touted that 97% of patients on the drug were satisfied with it.

Bioregnum Opinion Column by John Carroll at the US-China Biopharma Innovation and Investment Summit in Shanghai on October 23, 2018; Credit: Endpoints News, PharmCube


J&J also-ran in a field dominated by Gilead and ViiV, majority owned by GSK. And the leaders have been out marketing new three- and two-drug combinations. So what’s a new 4-drug combo to do?

Evidently get as much excited word-of-digital on social media as possible.

Click to Tweet: Janssen announces new #HIV data for patients rapidly starting treatment at #ACTHIV2019. Read full press release here:

Click to Tweet:@JanssenUS announces exciting new data for SYMTUZA® that is being presented at a conference in Miami. Learn more: Click here for full Prescribing Information for SYMTUZA®, including Boxed WARNING:

J&J’s readymade tweets in their PR on Symtuza gave social media mavens a chance to light up Twitter with their marketing campaign. There’s no immediate word if their anti-viral drug campaign went viral. But look for more of these canned tweets. 

Some analysts believe Symtuza can earn a billion dollars a year for J&J. And they’re going to need all the help on Twitter they can get to achieve that.

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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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