Amgen leaves celeb spokeswoman Blythe Danner behind in newest Prolia ad

Amgen's new campaign for osteoporosis drug Prolia launches as the biotech awaits word on a resubmitted application for next-generation product Evenity. (Amgen)

Amgen osteoporosis drug Prolia is working to appeal to menopausal women with a new TV ad, but it's leaving behind celebrity spokeswoman actress Blythe Danner.

The new commercial instead centers on a group of four older active women. They take turns talking, noting that they have post-menopausal osteoporosis, which means a high risk for fracture.

Danner has been starring in TV ads for Prolia since 2015.

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“We are proud of what we have been able to accomplish with Blythe Danner. Together, we have reached millions of women with the message that their bones are important and empowered women to speak with their physicians about postmenopausal osteoporosis and their bone health. We can’t thank Ms. Danner enough for her partnership in taking this journey with us,” said an Amgen spokeswoman via email.

The new TV creative also tweaks the previous kicker, now asking “Are you on the path to stronger bones? If you’re not sure, ask your doctor about Prolia.” The Danner ad that is also still running asks, “If your bones aren’t getting stronger, isn’t it time for a new direction? Why wait? Ask you doctor about Prolia.”

The work for Prolia comes as Amgen and UCB await an FDA decision on a resubmitted application for next-generation osteoporosis treatment Evenity. Evenity, the brand name chosen for romosozumab if approved, was rejected by the FDA last year, flagged over the rate of cardiovascular side effects in its trial. The refiling was submitted to the FDA in July.

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A Global Data report in May noted that Evenity is forecast to win approval and hit the market in 2019. It predicted the more appealing once-a-month dosing of Evenity, along with novel mechanism and strong efficacy, would do well, forecasting it to become a category leader by 2027 with a 17% market share.

Still, Prolia continues to be a workhorse for Amgen with $1.97 billion in global sales in 2017 and $1.27 billion of that haul coming from the U.S. alone. Prolia is the leading drug in the increasingly competitive osteoporosis category, but it's set to lose patent protection in 2021.