Biohaven revs up migraine med Nurtec ODT with NASCAR sponsorship

Biohaven's first-ever NASCAR sponsorship will send the Nurtec ODT migraine brand flying around the racetrack at 200 miles per hour. The literal marketing vehicle will debut at Daytona 500 in February.

As primary sponsor, Biohaven’s Nurtec ODT brand name (and generic name rimegepant) is emblazoned on the hood and side panels of NASCAR No. 51. Former driver Rick Ware, who still owns and runs the Rick Ware Racing team, initially connected with Biohaven CEO Vald Coric because his family members suffer from migraines.  

“Whether it's Khloe or Ellie or now NASCAR Racing Series, this is all about powerful voices stepping forward, telling their stories about migraine and bringing attention to it so we can get more people help," Coric said.

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He’s referring to current Nurtec DTC spokespeople who suffer from migraines and use Biohaven's oral, dissolvable CGRP medicine: reality show and social media celebrity Khloe Kardashian and longtime patient Ellie Weise, who starred in Nurtec’s first DTC this year and began Nurtec in a clinical trial two years ago.

The NASCAR link isn't limited to the Ware family's real patients. The racing venue fit with Nurtec’s rapid mechanism of action: Its label indicates maximum concentration after 1.5 hours.

The driver for the Nurtec car hasn’t been announced—and Coric wouldn’t hint—but as the season rolls out next year, both the Ware team and its driver will participate in social media and TV advertising.

As part of the year-long sponsorship, the Nurtec car and Biohaven will join the Military Salutes NASCAR program, which will take cars to 50 different bases for soldiers and their families.

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In a year when drug marketing is hampered by the pandemic, Coric said he's pleased with Nurtec’s sales and quick brand recognition. While competitor Allergan’s Ubrelvy has a slight lead in weekly scripts—for instance, last week at 16,000 to Nurtec’s 13,500—the two brands are split close to 50/50 in patients who are new to oral CGRP prescriptions, Coric said. That points to the success of the media strategy, he added.

The NASCAR part of that strategy is reaching out to an estimated audience of 50 million to 60 million racing fans, along with the military audience through the visits to bases. 

Ware said, in a press release: “As the parent of a family member with migraine, I am particularly excited to help share the message about Nurtec ODT with the world so that many others can get relief. Racing is all about speed, and we look forward to crossing the finish line with the Nurtec ODT No. 51 car."