International Neurology Drug Launch Case Studies
Mavenclad and Ocrevus are both drugs launched in the last two years that target multiple sclerosis. Each drug had a completely different marketing approach in the UK and the EU. Mavenclad partnered with the National Healthcare System England to become the go-to MS drug in the UK, while Ocrevus launched a non-branded and branded marketing campaign across all channels to drive sales.
- Mavenclad is a disease modifying drug for very active relapsing remitting MS. The drug was released in January 2018 in the UK by the Merck Group.
- In the UK, Merck decided to partner with Insypher to launch a budget impact model which was designed to support an early access "Commercial Agreement" proposal for National Healthcare System England in the "estimation of the potential budget impact of including MAVENCLAD® as an option for highly active relapsing MS patients."
- The marketing model used presents simple data in a digestible format in order to spark conversations with potential customers and specialized commissioning pharmacists. The marketing campaign is reflective of the so-far gathered customer insight while the discussion outputs, such as an FAQ, is presented to the market in a PDF format.
- As part of the marketing campaign, Mavenclad was one of the "seven medicinal and medical technology products selected by the Accelerated Access Collaborative (AAC) as a rapid uptake product which is a U.K. recognition that aims to bring life-changing technologies into the country’s National Health System (NHS), and to patients, more quickly, easily, and cost-effectively."
- The main channel and strategy of promotion was the partnership with NHS England where, as part of their commercial agreement, MS patients in England are gaining immediate access to this disease-modifying therapy.
- The company is expected to also run post-marketing studies to numerous safety issues doctors still have about the drug
- Ocrevus was approved in March 2017 for RRMS and early primary progressive MS (PPMS) in Europe. The drug was released by Genentech, part of the Roche group.
- The drug was received exceptionally well across the European Union, including United Kingdom, Germany, Netherlands, and Austria, due to "broad use across the EU countries even in advance of national pricing and reimbursement decisions in many counties."
- Neurologists in the EU reported a higher Ocrevus trial rate, share, and patient volume per neurologist compared with other MS drugs, which was supported by the availability of different compassionate use programs funded by governments, which were introduced as a response to the largely unmet need in PPMS.
- Apart from lobbying for governments to subsidize the drag in Europe, the main marketing strategy for Ocrevus was to price the drug 20% below the market price for any other MS-treating drug.
- Genetech partnered with an agency called Heartbeat to develop their global marketing strategy.
- Genetech's strategy launched with an unbranded campaign that warned: "It starts with a flicker. A subtle sign of disease progress—like a single new brain lesion—can portend much more devastating effects of the disease," and was played across TV, digital, and in newspapers.
- Afterwards, they launched the branded campaign, which was focused on the shifting mindset when it comes to treating MS and getting neurologists connect with a brand that is able to deliver efficacy when it counts most, and that is when patients still have their lives before of them and not behind them.
- Overall, the brand's strategy was focused on every channel that yielded maximum impact, including TV, print, digital, and going straight to doctors via sales representatives. Ocrevus was covered in almost 5,000 news stories, and 60K web searches in only 3 months after the launch.