Johnson & Johnson shows off under-pressure Stelara's latest indication—Crohn's—in new DTC spot

J&J logo on building
J&J's Stelara is facing a raft of new competitors in the psoriasis space.

Plenty of new psoriasis drugs are out to challenge Johnson & Johnson's Stelara—including one from J&J itself. So with its latest DTC work for the med, the company is pivoting to push for growth in Crohn's disease instead. 

In the new TV commercial for Stelara, determined actors say they are “fed up” with the unpredictability of Crohn’s.

“You’ve tried to own us, but now it’s our turn to take control,” they say as they walk through a warehouse. They watch as a large sheet of glass with words, which change from Crohn’s disease to abdominal pain and flare-ups, begins to crack and shatter. The TV spot, created by Stelara agency of record McCann HumanCare, began running Monday, according to monitoring by real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv. A spokeswoman said the campaign will run in multi-media channels including digital and social.

 

RELATED: J&J's Stelara, squeezed in psoriasis, grabs new market with Crohn's approval

“Crohn’s disease is a devastating illness with high unmet need. Many patients with Crohn’s disease have suffered for years and are actively looking for new ways to treat their disease. With the launch of our Stelara direct-to-consumer campaign, we hope to connect with these patients," a Janssen spokeswoman said via email.

J&J’s Janssen unit earned FDA approval for the Crohn's indication in September after posting a wealth of positive data. The nod provided a much-needed boost for the med, which is facing a host of new competitors—including Novartis' Cosentyx, Eli Lilly's Taltz and Valeant's Siliq—in the psoriasis market. Cosentyx is a competitor in the psoriatic arthritis space, too. 

Plus, the move to promote Stelara for Crohn’s instead of psoriasis also comes shortly after Janssen nabbed an FDA nod for a new psoriasis drug of its own, Tremfya.

Thanks in part to the Crohn's approval, sales of Stelara continue to grow. U.S. sales of the med in 2016 topped $2.63 billion, up from $1.68 billion in 2015, with J&J's most recent financials also showing an uptick for the first six months of 2017: U.S. sales checked in at $1.23 billion, versus $1.07 billion in the year-ago period.

Spherix Global Insights released independent survey results in June from the Crohn’s treatment category that said Stelara is poised for “significant future growth in the second half of 2017, ultimately encroaching on" the market share of Takeda's Entyvio. The survey found that while 60% of gastroenterologists it surveyed used Stelara, that will increase to 77% in the next six months.

Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments from J&J's Janssen.