Argenx goes again, ramping up unbranded campaign ahead of hoped-for label expansion

Argenx is laying the groundwork for the anticipated expansion of its flagship drug into a new indication, kicking off the unbranded “Shining Through CIDP” campaign ahead of a potential FDA approval in June.

Vyvgart Hytrulo, the subcutaneous version of argenx’s FcRn blocker, is already approved in generalized myasthenia gravis (gMG). Supported by data published last year, the biotech has filed for approval in a second setting, chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), and is now counting down the weeks until the FDA rules on its submission.

In preparation for the decision, argenx is running a marketing campaign to give CIPD “caregivers and patients reliable information and the resources that they need,” Rebecca Mcleod, U.S. general manager at argenx, said, as it did as it geared up for the gMG approval in 2020. 

The unbranded campaign features a website, a 30-second TV spot, a PBS Medical Stories documentary and the three-part “You, Shining Through” reality mini-series. The TV spot states “CIDP sucks” but living with the condition “doesn’t have to.” Katrina Sergeev, U.S. patient marketing lead at argenx, explained how the company is approaching the various channels.

“We look at our communication strategies holistically. It's meeting patients where they are and that includes utilizing and mobilizing all the channels. So, TV is obviously the broadest but we also make sure we use social media and digital advertising, as well as partnerships with advocacy groups to spread the word and amplify our message,” Sergeev said. 

Following the playbook that worked in gMG, argenx has co-created its campaign with patient groups and individuals. The approach is part of argenx’s attempt to ensure its efforts are “additive to the important work” that others have already done, Mcleod said.

While argenx is applying lessons from gMG, there are differences between the settings, as Karen Massey, chief operating officer at argenx, explained on the biotech’s fourth-quarter earnings call. CIDP patients have a “well entrenched and on label” treatment option—intravenous immunoglobulin—and may be “fearful of symptom regression” if they change therapies, Massey said. 

The executive told investors that argenx isn’t “expecting a rapid uptake in the latter part of the year,” in part because “stickiness” is expected as patients stay on their existing therapy. Argenx will “be prepared with thoughtful strategies at the time of the FDA's decision on our submission,” Massey said. A branded campaign is part of the plan but argenx will continue its unbranded work in parallel, Mcleod said.