Bayer takes giant colon on tour to drum up colorectal cancer awareness

Bayer's Big Colon Tour will make 50 stops across the U.S. (Colorectal Cancer Alliance)

Bayer is taking a giant colon on tour. Yes, you read that right.

The German drugmaker is slated to hit 50 events across the U.S. with a large-scale, inflatable colon to raise awareness of colorectal cancer in an interactive way, and it’s teaming up with patient advocacy organization Colorectal Cancer Alliance to make the tour happen.

Stops will include 5k races, community fairs and medical centers.

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The pair launched the tour “to take the the focus off the discomfort many feel when talking to their doctors about their diagnosis,” Colorectal Cancer Alliance president Michael Sapienza said in a statement. "The public's reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, and we're happy we could change the tone of an important conversation.”

More conversations around colorectal cancer could translate to more sales for Bayer, which markets treatment Stivarga. That med bears an approval for previously treated patients whose disease has spread to other parts of the body.

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And that’s an outcome that Bayer wouldn’t mind. In recent years, Stivarga has struggled in that indication against newer competition from Otsuka’s Lonsurf. In Q1, the med put up just €29 million in U.S. sales, a 12% year-over-year drop when factoring in foreign exchange rates.

Right now, Bayer could certainly use bigger contributions from the oncology therapy, not smaller ones. It’s part of a group of five products the company is counting on to power growth in the pharma unit, particularly as it focuses on agriculture in the wake of its mammoth Monsanto deal.

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The Big Colon Tour won’t be Bayer’s first effort to drum up colorectal cancer awareness. In 2015, it joined hands with another patient advocacy group, Fight Colorectal Cancer, for a performance from country star Craig Campbell, whose father died from the disease.

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