Celgene brings on Olympic swimmer to help Otezla lap psoriasis rivals

With her poolside reporting assignment at the Olympics in Rio behind her, Olympic swimmer and 12-time medalist Dara Torres is turning her attention to another event: Celgene’s “Show More of You” campaign.

Torres, who has suffered from plaque psoriasis since the late 1990s, is working with the New Jersey company to raise awareness and “inspire people living with psoriasis to ... celebrate their accomplishments,” Celgene said.

As part of the campaign, she’s telling her personal psoriasis story. It's a tale of persistence, she said in a statement: “[I] worked with my dermatologist to manage my plaque psoriasis symptoms and didn’t let the impact of the disease force me to adapt my life at the expense of my dreams."

Fellow psoriasis patients and their supporters can watch and read about Torres on ShowMoreOfYou.com. They can add their own “inspirational photos and messages of how they are showing more of their true selves,” too.

Celgene’s got a horse in the psoriasis race with Otezla, which won FDA approval back in 2014. But since then, some serious biologic competition has hit the market in Novartis’ Cosentyx, and Eli Lilly’s Taltz recently joined the party, too. That’s not to mention Valeant Pharmaceuticals, Johnson & Johnson and other drugmakers working on their own candidates.

In addition to its head start on the market, though, Otezla also has a dosing advantage. It’s a pill--not an injectable--and that fact helped it bring in $471.7 million in 2015 sales.

Meanwhile, the new campaign isn’t Torres’ first foray into the world of pharma marketing. She’s also partnered with Sanofi on its Voices of Meningitis campaign--a push to spread awareness about booster vaccinations--and its "Get in the Game" initiative aimed at encouraging vaccination among adolescent athletes.

- read the release

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