Cancer 'steals possibilities,' but Gilead is 'taking it back' in new oncology campaign

Gilead Sciences was best known as an infectious disease company, but, in recent years and through some big M&A moves, it is delving deeper into oncology, and now the U.S. pharma is running a new series of cancer awareness campaigns. 

In several new videos posted on its corporate LinkedIn page, Gilead plays on its theme that “cancer steals possibilities,” though each video plays out very differently.

In the first video, which runs just over one minute, there is euphoric music playing with a woman, looking slightly forlorn, stroking her dog on her porch. The narrator intones: “Cancer steals the moments that make us; cancer steals possibility. But at Gilead Oncology, we’re taking it back.”

We then see the woman play with her dog in the backyard as the music shifts gears to more positive vibes, and we also later see others simply getting on with their daily lives. The narrator says that we “refuse to accept that cancer can still take the ones we love.”

The focus then shifts to Gilead “collaborating to create new possibilities for people with cancer” and talks about the next-generation work it is undertaking, some of which is in tandem with other biotechs.

This video has a Gilead logo at the end but no direct talk of branded medicines. It is, like other pharma videos of its ilk, a broad and highly corporate-feeling video simply about the fact that Gilead is working on R&D for cancer.

The second video is longer and much more patient-focused. We see two women, both recently married, talk openly about their fertility struggles. The first to talk is Emma, who has been treated for triple-negative breast cancer.

Emma talks about the perils of going through in vitro fertilization and “thinking you have all the time in the world,” but then something like cancer can come along and “put your life on hold.”

She talks about having to have a double mastectomy and knowing she will never be able to breastfeed her children, if she’s even able to have them at all, something which clearly is an emotional issue for her.

We then hear from Jaymie, who has stage 4 lung cancer and was diagnosed just a few weeks after she was married.

Holding back her tears, she said that diagnosis “immediately took [the joy of the wedding] back from me.” Her first question to her oncologist was about whether she could have children. She was told she would be on medicine “for the rest of her life, so you can’t get pregnant on that medicine.”

Like Emma, she was offered the ability to freeze her eggs “and revisit it at a later time,” which she immediately took up, also going through IVF, which said was “grueling.”

This is one of the often-unspoken elements of cancer: not just the treatments and the shock, but the reverberations it causes throughout a patient’s life.

Gilead markets a growing franchise of drugs for several cancers, including Trodelvy in several breast cancers as well as its cell therapies in certain blood cancers: Yescarta and Tecartus. Together, these three are on track to generate $3 billion this year.

Trodelvy, an antibody-drug conjugate, came out of Gilead’s $21 billion purchase of Immunomedics in 2020, while its cell therapies came from its $12 billion buyout of Kite Pharma in 2017.

Gilead is also working on a number of experimental oncology therapies with biotechs, including next-gen and much hyped anti-TIGIT antibodies along with BCMA cell therapies, to name but a few.