Biohaven points up Nurtec dual-migraine approval with growing stable of celebrity users

Biohaven Pharmaceuticals is flexing its migraine share leapfrog over powerhouse AbbVie—thanks to Nurtec ODT's dual acute-plus-prevention nod and an aggressive digital-first strategy.

Digital ads across social media roll up Nurtec's double indication into one message—the same dose can treat acute migraine and prevent the next one.

Nurtec's new-to-brand prescription share jumped to 59% last week, Biohaven CEO Vlad Coric said in an interview with Fierce Pharma. That’s another notch ahead of AbbVie's rival oral acute CGRP med, Ubrelvy, since July. Nurtec also now holds a 51% overall share among acute oral meds, he said. 

Although AbbVie’s first-to-market approval initially secured a market-share lead, the Nurtec prevention nod in May has helped pushed Nurtec ahead. AbbVie is currently seeking a separate FDA approval for preventive migraine candidate atogepant, expected this fall.

“When we got the prevention approval a couple months ago, that’s where we really saw the change in market share,” Coric said. “We were hovering with (AbbVie’s Ubrelvy) just below the 50% market share, but then we really broke through with the dual indication.”

RELATED: Biohaven hits social media jackpot with superceleb Khloe Kardashian as spokesperson for migraine med Nurtec ODT

Meanwhile, backing Biohaven’s share-stealing strategy is a growing stable of real Nurtec celebrity patients and spokespeople, including several yet to be named that are already lined up for fall.

Beginning last summer with reality TV and social media star Khloe Kardashian, Biohaven has since added NASCAR’s Rick Ware racing team, actress Tori Spelling and, more recently, actress and talk show host Whoopi Goldberg and former Olympic gymnast Nastia Liukin.

“I’ve got big news,” Goldberg says in several Nurtec digital ads on social media. The news is, of course, that Nurtec is now approved to treat and prevent migraine.

In a who-you-know twist, Biohaven actually met Goldberg through Kardashian. During an interview with Kardashian on talk show “The View”—which actually later got Biohaven in hot water with an FDA letter admonishing Kardashian's effusive claims —Goldberg confessed to her own struggles with migraine.

RELATED: Biohaven's Nurtec ODT outmuscles AbbVie's Ubrelvy in gaining new migraine patients following key FDA nod

Digital first doesn’t just mean celebs, though. Biohaven also uses popular memes in ads—like the one in which a young man holds one woman's hand but turns to stare at another woman, who in this case is labeled Nurtec. Biohaven's target? The young audience members who don't watch traditional media and advertising, but rather “live on social,” as Coric said.

To that end, Biohaven's Nurtec marketing has included a Twitter takeover, celebrity and real patient Instagram posts, YouTube videos and even a debut on TikTok.

Still, the key is connecting real patients—celebrity or not—to relief from migraine with Nurtec use.

“We’re not picking people because they have big followings—we’re picking them because of their response to Nurtec, and they happen to have big followings,” Coric said.