Argenx is launching its first awareness efforts for autoimmune disease myasthenia gravis. The campaign began recently with a virtual conference, light-up nights around the country, a patient website debut and the promise of an upcoming documentary.
The kickoff event on June 1, which was also the first day of MG Awareness Month, was a virtual meeting of physician and patient speakers along with the first MG Illuminate night that lit up the Zakim Bridge in Boston in the color teal. Throughout the month, more cities across the country—including Kansas City, Los Angeles, Detroit, Minneapolis and Atlanta—will light up buildings, bridges and other structures in teal to draw attention to the disease.
Argenx also debuted its first patient-focused website, MG United, which includes financial and emotional well-being resources along with features such as symptom tracking and career management. The site was built on information gathered through meetings and focus groups with MG patients and caregivers, said Keith Woods, Argenx’s chief operating officer.
The kickoff event also showed a sneak peak of an upcoming documentary from Argenx about the lives and challenges of three people living with MG. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the three-part docuseries is largely being shot by the patients themselves on their own iPhones, Woods said. The director is SXSW film award winner Ben Strang, and the series is set for online release later this year.
“The core of the documentary is radical empathy. If you speak to MG patients, some of them are frustrated because people don’t understand their disease and especially these patients who are seronegative and sometimes even questioned if they have the disease,” Woods said.
An already launched project called My MG Sole asks patients and caregivers to use their shoes to artistically illustrate their MG journeys. From cowboy boots to basketball kicks, patients are asked to decorate their left shoe with life before diagnosis and the right shoe with life after diagnosis and post under #MyMGSole or #MoreToMeThanMG.
Some 60,000 people in the U.S. have the autoimmune disease, which causes a variety of symptoms. Major muscle weakness is the most common, although symptoms can vary greatly from person to person. Argenx anticipates filing a biologics license application for its candidate efgartigimod to treat generalized myasthenia gravis with the FDA later this year.
The phase 3 trial of efgartigimod recently hit its primary endpoint, putting Argenx on track for a fall filing and an anticipated drug launch in the U.S. in 2021. Argenx is also studying efgartigimod in three other indications, with plans for more.