Bristol Myers Squibb goes all out on unbranded campaigns for newly approved $13B drug Camzyos

Bristol Myers Squibb has launched two education campaigns and an annual awareness day for the condition its new heart drug Camzyos treats, with branded consumer ads on the horizon.

There’s a lot of money riding on its success: The Big Pharma spent $13.1 billion to buy MyoKardia in 2020 and get hold of the experimental cardiovascular drug then known as mavacamten. Last  month, the med nabbed its first FDA approval, for patients with obstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM).

And Camzyos is launching into a market that's potentially very large: an estimated 1 in 500 people have this form of cardiomyopathy. The catch is that a large percentage of patients are undiagnosed.

“We believe the current diagnosis rates are around 23%,” said Michelle Calope, head of U.S. cardiovascular at BMS.

So, Bristol Myers' campaigns are aimed at boosting the diagnosis rate. This includes a patient-based, unbranded education campaign, called “Could It Be HCM?”, which highlights possible signs and symptoms and encourages people to ask their doctors if they should see a cardiologist.

“This really is a call to action for patients to talk to your doctor,” Calope explained. “The symptoms of obstructive HCM are very common, so we have found patients only get a correct diagnosis through a process of elimination. We say that it shouldn’t be that way.”

As part of Could It Be HCM?, BMS has partnered with NBA player Jared Butler, who just finished his first season with the Utah Jazz. Butler, who was diagnosed with HCM while in college, will share his—and his family’s—experience with the condition.

BMS is offering a patient-doctor discussion guide in tandem with the campaign, written up by specialists in the field. The guide has been downloaded more than 11,000 times, Calope said, “so we know there is clearly a need to have this discussion.”

The company has also set up an annual “HCM Awareness Day” with the Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy Association; it will run at the end of February.

The idea is to share stories from people within the disease community, educate people on the most common symptoms and the impact of the disease, urge those who may be experiencing symptoms to speak with their healthcare providers and encourage better family screenings through improved annual exams.

It was important for BMS to collab with the association because “the patient community groups have been doing this a lot longer than we have, and we want to make sure that we are partnering appropriately to raise awareness,” Calope said.

There is also a new disease education website, ExposeHCM, set up for U.S. doctors which breaks down information on understanding, diagnosing and managing the disease.

The drug's name, Camzyos, is derived from cardiac myosin inhibition (think CAM) because “we wanted to add that mechanism in the name as it is unique and has been designed specifically for this disease,” explained Calope.  

You won’t be seeing that name attached to these campaigns for now, but Calope said branded consumer ads would likely debut later this year.

Bristol Myers expects the drug to score $4 billion or more in peak sales, and it's already angling to grow Camzyos’s label. The company plans to kickstart a phase 3 study in nonobstructive hypertrophic cardiomyopathy later this year and recently launched a mid-phase proof-of-concept study in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction.

There are currently no other new or specific drugs for HCM, with older, cheaper drugs such as beta blockers the typical med of choice.