Mar­ket­ingRx roundup: GSK in­vites al­ler­gy suf­fer­ers to cre­ate cus­tom mon­sters; Merz kicks off soc­cer spon­sor­ship

The GSK cam­paign for al­ler­gy nasal spray Flonase stars a va­ri­ety of lawn mon­sters and pol­li­na­tor pains. Now the phar­ma is en­cour­ag­ing al­ler­gy suf­fer­ers on so­cial me­dia to build their own make-be­lieve al­ler­gy mon­sters.

The “Face Your Mon­ster” dig­i­tal ef­fort en­cour­ages peo­ple to in­put their al­ler­gens and symp­toms on­line or mo­bile phone to cre­ate a per­son­al­ized ver­sion of their sea­son­al mis­ery – and then share a mi­ni-video of it in ac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

Flonase is a GSK Rx-to-OTC al­ler­gy treat­ment that switched in 2015. While Rx-to-OTC al­ler­gy treat­ment switch­es are more com­mon than in oth­er cat­e­gories – 11 of the 17 on the list of FDA switch­es since 2013 –  Flonase was wide­ly re­gard­ed as high­ly suc­cess­ful pulling in more than $250 mil­lion in less than a year af­ter its launch. Pre­scrip­tion drugs are con­sid­ered block­busters at $1 bil­lion, while OTC prod­ucts are typ­i­cal­ly con­sid­ered a suc­cess at more than $100 mil­lion.

NC women’s pro soc­cer team sport­ing Merz Aes­thet­ics spon­sor­ship

Merz Aes­thet­ics is get­ting its own jer­sey – on the North Car­oli­na Courage’s women’s na­tion­al soc­cer team. With its spon­sor­ship of Na­tion­al Women’s Soc­cer League cham­pi­on, the Merz Aes­thet­ics lo­go will be fea­tured on the back of play­ers’ home and away uni­form shirts through next year.

Merz, with prod­ucts in­clud­ing in­jecta­bles, med­ical de­vices and skin care treat­ments, kicked off the part­ner­ship with the Courage this past week­end. As part of the deal, Merz Aes­thet­ics will host sum­mer soc­cer clin­ics in the Courage’s home­town of Raleigh, NC, and host in­ter­views with its play­ers on so­cial me­dia. “The Merz Aes­thet­ics team ex­ists to fu­el con­fi­dence, and there is no bet­ter rep­re­sen­ta­tion of that than the ded­i­ca­tion and per­se­ver­ance of ath­letes who com­pete at this elite lev­el,” said Patrick Ur­ban, Merz Aes­thet­ics North Amer­i­ca pres­i­dent, in a press re­lease.

The new­ly added team of soc­cer brand am­bas­sadors join Merz spokesper­son, ac­tress and en­tre­pre­neur Gwyneth Pal­trow. She is the “glob­al face” of Xeomin, its bot­u­linum tox­in prod­uct and an an­ti-wrin­kle com­peti­tor to the in­dus­try gi­ant brand Botox from Ab­b­Vie’s Al­ler­gan Aes­thet­ics.

Dig­i­tal health ad­vo­cates, in­clud­ing phar­ma com­pa­nies, band to­geth­er to ad­dress health dis­par­i­ties

The new­ly formed Dig­i­tal Health for Eq­ui­table Health (DHEH) Al­liance is aim­ing to be a cat­a­lyst for change across dig­i­tal health. The group in­cludes drug­mak­ers Te­va Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals and Ot­su­ka Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals along with non­prof­it ad­vo­ca­cy groups such as the Amer­i­can Can­cer So­ci­ety Can­cer Ac­tion Net­work, Howard Uni­ver­si­ty Col­lege of Med­i­cine, Black Women’s Health Im­per­a­tive and the Al­ler­gy and Asth­ma Net­work.

Tan­isha Hill, pres­i­dent of the new group and Te­va’s US se­nior med­ical di­rec­tor and res­pi­ra­to­ry and dig­i­tal health med­ical lead, said in a press re­lease: “Eq­ui­ty isn’t just a buzz­word, it’s a crit­i­cal move­ment that will save lives and en­sure that, re­gard­less of in­come, eth­nic­i­ty or gen­der, all Amer­i­cans can ac­cess dig­i­tal tech­nolo­gies that can re­move bar­ri­ers to health­care man­age­ment and crit­i­cal health ser­vices. On­ly by work­ing to­geth­er, can we make mean­ing­ful change in the lives of mil­lions of peo­ple, and I en­cour­age oth­ers to ex­plore our mis­sion and join us.”

Men­tal Health Aware­ness Month ends with new men­tal health con­cerns for Amer­i­cans, study finds

As Men­tal Health Aware­ness draws to a close and a flur­ry of mar­ket­ing cam­paigns pro­mot­ing the im­por­tance of men­tal health well­be­ing come to an an­nu­al end, anx­i­ety re­mains a US prob­lem. One-third of Amer­i­cans say they are more anx­ious than they were last year while al­most half (46%) say their anx­i­ety re­mains the same, ac­cord­ing to a new study from the Amer­i­can Psy­chi­atric As­so­ci­a­tion.

The good news is that Covid-19 fears are re­ced­ing – 50% of those polled in the US say they’re wor­ried about it, down from 65% in 2021. How­ev­er, the not-so-good news is oth­er events such as the war in Ukraine, racial­ly mo­ti­vat­ed shoot­ings and cli­mate change are new­ly weigh­ing on peo­ple’s minds, the APA said in a news re­lease.

Amer­i­cans are at least breath­ing a small sigh of re­lief though when it comes to their chil­dren’s men­tal health. Some 41% say they’re con­cerned about it, but that’s a de­crease from 53% in 2021.  The study was run by Morn­ing Con­sult in April with more than 2,200 adults on­line.

Ogilvy Health cre­ates new tal­ent ac­qui­si­tion lead­er­ship role 

Ogilvy Health is ap­point­ing agency vet­er­an Court­ney Mur­phy as its first glob­al peo­ple di­rec­tor, a new ex­ec­u­tive lev­el role over­see­ing tal­ent man­age­ment and re­cruit­ment along with over­all hu­man re­sources func­tions. Mur­phy joins from Hill Hol­i­day where she was se­nior VP of hu­man re­sources, and be­fore that, served a 23-year tenure at Dig­i­tas North Amer­i­ca where she rose to be­come VP di­rec­tor of hu­man re­sources.

M&A: a crit­i­cal dri­ver for sus­tain­able top-line growth in health­care

2021 saw a record $600B in healthcare M&A activity. In 2022, there is an anticipated slowdown in activity, however, M&A prospects remain strong in the medium to long-term. What are future growth drivers for the healthcare sector? Where might we see innovations that drive M&A? RBC’s Andrew Callaway, Global Head, Healthcare Investment Banking discusses with Vito Sperduto, Global Co-Head, M&A.

15 LGBTQ lead­ers in bio­phar­ma; Paul Stof­fels’ Gala­pa­gos re­vamp; As­traZeneca catch­es up in AT­TR; and more

Welcome back to Endpoints Weekly, your review of the week’s top biopharma headlines. Want this in your inbox every Saturday morning? Current Endpoints readers can visit their reader profile to add Endpoints Weekly. New to Endpoints? Sign up here.

A return to in-person conferences also marks a return to on-the-ground reporting. My colleagues Beth Synder Bulik and Nicole DeFeudis were on-site at Cannes Lions, bringing live coverage of pharma’s presence at the ad festival — accompanied by photos from Clara Bui, our virtual producer, that bring you right to the scene. You can find a recap (and links to all the stories) below.

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David Loew (Ipsen)

Ipsen snags an ap­proved can­cer drug in $247M M&A deal as an­oth­er bat­tered biotech sells cheap

You can add Paris-based Ipsen to the list of discount buyers patrolling the penny stock pack for a cheap M&A deal.

The French biotech, which has had plenty of its own problems to grapple with, has swooped in to buy Epizyme $EPZM for $247 million in cash and a CVR with milestones attached to it. Epizyme shareholders, who had to suffer through a painfully soft launch of their EZH2a inhibitor cancer drug Tazverik, will get $1.45 per share along with a $1 CVR tied to achieving $250 million in sales from the drug over four consecutive quarters as well as an OK for second-line follicular lymphoma by 1 Jan. 2028.

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AstraZeneca's new Evusheld direct to consumer campaign aims to reach more immunocompromised patients.

As­traZeneca de­buts first con­sumer cam­paign for its Covid-19 pro­phy­lac­tic Evusheld — and a first for EUA drugs

AstraZeneca’s first consumer ad for Evusheld is also a first for drugs that have been granted emergency use authorizations during the pandemic.

The first DTC ad for a medicine under emergency approval, the Evusheld campaign launching this week aims to raise awareness among immunocompromised patients — and spur more use.

Evusheld nabbed emergency authorization in December, however, despite millions of immunocompromised people looking for a solution and now more widespread availability of the drug.

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VMLY&R execs Claire Gillis and Walter Geer listen to Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta talk about the importance of diversity at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Why does di­ver­si­ty mat­ter in cre­ativ­i­ty? Olympic gold medal­ist and VM­LY&R ex­plain

CANNES – When Olympic gold medalist Tianna Bartoletta went to the hospital to deliver her son last year, she packed signed advanced directives and her will in her bag. Why? Her past experience with the healthcare system while training for the 2020 Tokyo Olympics.

She was training in sprint and long jump — after winning two golds in 2016 and one in 2012 — when she began to notice changes in her period. While Bartoletta initially rationalized it as stress or training too hard, it kept getting worse — to the point where she had dizzy spells and episodes of passing out. So she went to the doctor.

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From left to right: Shaheed Peera, Ivor Horn, Sommer Bazuro and Pat Setji speak about diversity, equity and inclusion at Cannes Lions 2022 (Clara Bui/Endpoints News)

#Can­nes­Lions2022: Ad­dress­ing clin­i­cal tri­al di­ver­si­ty prob­lems will take 're­al work now,' pan­elists say

CANNES —  As a young scientist, Sommer Bazuro was looking at oncology data when she realized that the patient population was not at all representative of the demographics most likely to suffer and die from cancer.

Thinking it must be an isolated incident, she turned to peer-reviewed publications and began talking to oncologists, only to discover that a lack of diversity in clinical trials was par for the course. Black and Hispanic patients typically don’t even reach levels of representation consistent with the general population.

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De­spite a slow start to the year for deals, PwC pre­dicts a flur­ry of ac­tiv­i­ty com­ing up

Despite whispers of a busy year for M&A, deal activity in the pharma space is actually down 30% on a semi-annualized basis, according to PwC’s latest report on deal activity. But don’t rule out larger deals in the second half of the year, the consultants said.

PwC pharmaceutical and life sciences consulting solutions leader Glenn Hunzinger expects to see Big Pharma companies picking up earlier stage companies to try and fill pipeline gaps ahead of a slew of big patent cliffs. Though a bear market continues to maul the biotech sector, Hunzinger said recent deals indicate that pharma companies are still paying above current trading prices.

Joe Wiley, Amryt Pharma CEO

Am­ryt Phar­ma sub­mits a for­mal dis­pute res­o­lu­tion to the FDA over re­ject­ed skin dis­ease drug

The story of Amryt Pharma’s candidate for the genetic skin condition epidermolysis bullosa, or EB, will soon enter another chapter.

After the Irish drugmaker’s candidate, dubbed Oleogel-S10 and marketed as Filsuvez, was handed a CRL earlier this year, the company announced in a press release that it plans to submit a formal dispute resolution request for the company’s NDA for Oleogel-S10.

Sen. Thom Tillis (R-NC) (J. Scott Applewhite/AP Images)

Phar­ma-friend­ly sen­a­tor calls on FDA for a third time to show patent pro­tec­tions should­n't be blamed for high drug prices

North Carolina Republican Sen. Thom Tillis made a name for himself in the 2020 election cycle as the darling of the pharma industry, accepting hundreds of thousands in campaign contributions, even from the likes of Pfizer CEO Albert Bourla.

Those contributions have led Tillis to attempt to re-write patent laws in pharma’s favor, a move which failed to gain steam in 2019, and request for a third time since January that the FDA should help stop “the false narrative that patent protections are to blame for high drug prices.”