GSK's latest push for shingles awareness encourages people to literally 'wake up' to the virus inside them.

GSK warns 50+ crowd to ‘wake up’ to vi­ral dan­ger of shin­gles in lat­est cam­paign

De­spite years of pub­lic health mes­sag­ing and aware­ness ad­ver­tis­ing, peo­ple over the age of 50 still aren’t get­ting the shin­gles shots — or even wide­ly un­der­stand­ing the risks.

GSK re­search shows that “a stag­ger­ing 61% of adults don’t know or don’t think they are at risk for shin­gles.” So it’s dou­bling down on ad­ver­tis­ing, this time with a di­rect mes­sage about the dor­mant virus that caus­es shin­gles and is al­ready in­side 99% of peo­ple old­er than age 50.

Two new TV ads — one in Eng­lish and a dif­fer­ent one in Span­ish — show peo­ple with their eyes closed do­ing every­day things at a cook­out, gro­cery shop­ping and even play­ing sports with the warn­ing that “it’s time to wake up — be­cause shin­gles could wake up in you.”

The lat­est cam­paign launched last week is GSK’s first fo­cused on the dor­man­cy of the virus. Con­cur­rent TV ads fo­cus more on the burn­ing, painful rash of shin­gles that can last for weeks. The smol­der­ing burn and elec­tric shock im­ages de­pict­ing the pain be­gan run­ning last year, with Span­ish-lan­guage ver­sions with a sim­i­lar pain mes­sage about “la cule­bril­la” be­gan ear­li­er this year.

The new Span­ish-lan­guage ad is more than just a trans­lat­ed ad, a GSK spokesper­son said in an email.

“We know that to be most rel­e­vant to His­pan­ic au­di­ences, we need­ed to do bet­ter than sim­ply adding a Span­ish voice over. So, we de­vel­oped a ded­i­cat­ed Span­ish-lan­guage cam­paign. The Span­ish-lan­guage ads fea­ture all His­pan­ic ac­tors and sce­nar­ios that are par­tic­u­lar­ly rel­e­vant to the His­pan­ic com­mu­ni­ty,” they said.

GSK re­search shows that His­pan­ic peo­ple in the US are sig­nif­i­cant­ly less like­ly to be vac­ci­nat­ed against shin­gles com­pared to oth­ers and that His­pan­ic peo­ple are are less fa­mil­iar with shin­gles symp­toms and risk fac­tors.

The new cam­paign in­cludes broad­cast and stream­ing TV, ra­dio and point-of-care ads along with on­line video, dig­i­tal and so­cial me­dia work. The ads redi­rect peo­ple to GSK’s “What is Shin­gles” web­site for more de­tails.

While pre­vi­ous ads with the burn­ing and painful rash im­agery “con­vey that shin­gles is some­thing that you want to avoid. How­ev­er, in ad­di­tion to un­der­stand­ing the im­pact of shin­gles, we know that con­sumers need to al­so un­der­stand that they are at risk,” the spokesper­son said.

The work is un­brand­ed, but GSK makes lead­ing shin­gles vac­cine Shin­grix. GSK re­ports its Q3 sales next week, but Shin­grix sales topped €1.4 bil­lion in the first half of 2022, dri­ven by record sec­ond quar­ter sales. GSK said in its last fi­nan­cial fil­ing that “Specif­i­cal­ly for Shin­grix, we con­tin­ue to ex­pect strong dou­ble-dig­it growth and record an­nu­al sales in 2022, based on strong de­mand in ex­ist­ing mar­kets and con­tin­ued ge­o­graph­i­cal ex­pan­sion.”

George Scangos (L) and Marianne De Backer

Pi­o­neer­ing biotech icon George Scan­gos hands in his re­tire­ment pa­pers — and this time it’s for re­al

George Scangos, one of the all-time great biotech CEOs, says the time has come to turn over the reins one last time.

The 74-year-old biotech legend spent close to three decades in a CEO post. The first was at Exelixis — which is still heavily focused on a drug Scangos advanced in the clinic. The second “retirement” was at Biogen, where he and his team were credited with a big turnaround with the now fading MS blockbuster Tecfidera. And the third comes at Vir, where he traded in his Big Biotech credentials for a marquee founder’s role back on the West Coast, hammering out a Covid-19 alliance with Hal Barron — then R&D chief at GSK — and breaking new ground on infectious diseases with some high-powered venture players.

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FDA re­ports ini­tial 'no sig­nal' for stroke risk with Pfiz­er boost­ers, launch­es con­comi­tant flu shot study

The FDA hasn’t detected any potential safety signals, including for stroke, in people aged 65 years and older who have received Pfizer’s bivalent Covid booster, one senior official told members of the agency’s Vaccines and Related Biological Products Advisory Committee (VRBPAC) on Thursday.

The update comes as the FDA and CDC investigate a “preliminary signal” that may indicate an increased risk of ischemic stroke in older Americans who received Pfizer’s updated shot.

FDA cuts off use for As­traZeneca’s Covid-19 ther­a­py Evusheld

The FDA has stopped use of another drug as a result of the new coronavirus variants. On Thursday, the agency announced that AstraZeneca’s antibody combo Evusheld, which was an important prevention option for many immunocompromised people and others, is no longer authorized.

The FDA said it made its decision based on the fact that Evusheld works on fewer than 10% of circulating variants.

Evusheld was initially given emergency authorization at the end of 2021. However, as Omicron emerged, so did studies that showed Evusheld might not work against the dominant Omicron strain. In October, the FDA warned healthcare providers that Evusheld was useless against the Omicron subvariant BA.4.6. It followed that up with another announcement earlier this month that it did not think Evusheld would work against the latest Omicron subvariant XBB.1.5.

'Tis the sea­son: GSK ad­dress­es win­ter virus surges with celebri­ty and in­flu­encer vac­cine aware­ness cam­paigns

GSK is rounding up the usual suspects this winter — flu, respiratory syncytial and even shingles viruses — for multiple marketing efforts all aimed at encouraging vaccinations.

Mom influencers take center stage in its “Flu is a Family Affair” campaign to reach family decision-makers or “chief health officers.” GSK is asking them in the digital campaign to take care of themselves, and take the family along, when they go to the pharmacy or doctor’s office for a flu vaccine.

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Jeanne Loring, director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine (Credit: Jamie Scott Lytle)

A stem cell pi­o­neer sent an ex­per­i­ment in­to space. Pa­tients are the next fron­tier

Last July, Jeanne Loring stood on a dirt road surrounded by Florida swampland and watched as a nearby SpaceX rocket blasted into the sky. The payload included a very personal belonging: cell clusters mimicking parts of her brain.

For more than two decades, Loring has been at the forefront of a stem cell field that always seems on the brink of becoming the next thing in medicine, but has been slow to lift off.

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In a win for Re­gen­eron, No­var­tis' sy­ringe for AMD drug de­clared 'un­patentable'

Regeneron has won a patent case against Swiss pharma giant Novartis over the delivery system for its eye drug Eylea.

The US Patent Trial and Appeal Board ruled that Novartis’ pre-filled syringe for injecting its eye medication Lucentis was “unpatentable” and handed the victory to Regeneron and its AMD drug Eylea.

In the initial complaint in 2020, Novartis alleged to the US International Trade Commission that certain pre-filled syringes for the intravitreal injection, and ultimately Regeneron’s delivery system for Eylea, were infringing on Novartis’ patent. Regeneron filed a petition to review Novartis’ claims in 2021.

Bris­tol My­ers claims win with CAR-T ther­a­py Breyanzi in leukemia

Bristol Myers Squibb is looking to expand Breyanzi into more indications — and the pharma’s newest data readout makes progress on that front.

The Big Pharma put out word Thursday that the CAR-T cell therapy met the primary endpoint of complete response rate compared to historical control in a subset of patients with relapsed or refractory chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL) that were refractory to a BTK inhibitor and pretreated with a BCL-2 inhibitor.

Actor Ken Jeong is shown in a still from the latest TV ad for Novartis' Xiidra dry eye disease treatment.

No­var­tis re-en­lists spokescelebri­ty Ken Jeong for Xi­idra movie trail­er spoof cam­paign

Pharma marketers are known for recruiting both doctors and celebrities for ad campaigns. But Novartis has both in one person for its dry eye disease medicine Xiidra.

Actor Ken Jeong is no longer a practicing physician, but he is still a celebrity Novartis spokesperson for the past 18 months, and he’s now turning up the celebrity for the brand.

Novartis’ latest TV commercial for Xiidra is a movie trailer spoof with Jeong squinting and rubbing his eyes as he walks through a park, while a loud, ominous voiceover intones: “In a world where dry eye symptoms keep coming back … one man learns the truth.”

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Country music star Jimmie Allen with his wife, Alexis, and daughter Zara. (Photographer: Andrea Behrends)

Sanofi takes to Tik­Tok and In­sta­gram to tar­get mil­len­ni­als and old­er Gen Z par­ents for RSV ed­u­ca­tion

What happens when you combine a country music star with a trending health issue and throw in a good measure of TikTok and Instagram?

For Sanofi’s “Knowing RSV” campaign, it’s meant broader awareness for a common virus that many parents don’t know much about. One common misconception, for example, is that respiratory syncytia virus (RSV) only affects infants who are born prematurely or have other health issues. However, 72% of infants hospitalized with RSV are healthy, full-term babies, said Ayanna Santos, head of Sanofi’s RSV franchise in the US.