Easy as 1-2-3, GSK’s triple COPD drug Trelegy dances onto TV with first DTC ads

trelegy
GlaxoSmithKline's next-generation COPD three-in-one drug Trelegy Ellipta gets its first ad campaign this week. (GlaxoSmithKline)

GlaxoSmithKline is spinning the first DTC campaign this week for its crucial new COPD drug, Trelegy Ellipta, backed by a throwback soundtrack. The theme song reworks The Jackson 5’s hit tune “ABC," focusing on the “1-2-3” refrain to highlight Trelegy’s three medicines in one inhaler.

GSK has pointed to Trelegy as one of its key drug launches this year, along with HIV drug Juluca and shingles vaccine Shingrix.

The two just-launched TV commercials for Trelegy come in male and female versions—that is, one has a male lead and the other a female lead. Both ads feature a reimagined “ABC” song with a chorus that now sings: “Trel-e-gy, the power of 1-2-3.” The actors in each ad tick off on three fingers the different elements of the drug, and then address the camera saying, “I’ve got the power of 1-2-3.”

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Trelegy is the first daily closed-triple therapy for patients with COPD. It combines an inhaled corticosteroid (ICS), a long-acting muscarinic antagonist (LAMA), and a long-acting beta2-adrenergic agonist (LABA) in one GSK Ellipta-branded inhaler.

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The TV ads launched this week in national media, one year after Trelegy was approved by the FDA.

The GSK drug recorded sales of £11 million for Q1, its first full quarter on the market, followed by £26 million in the second quarter, with that growth attributed in part to an expanded indication for COPD patients who need long-term therapy in the U.S., the company reported. Analysts have predicted Trelegy Ellipta could grow to peak sales of $1.5 billion.

GSK pharma chief Luke Miels touted Trelegy’s launch to shareholders in April, noting it had surpassed other Ellipta launches in recent years, and said it was “one of the best respiratory launches in the past decade at this point postlaunch.”

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With a doubled-down focus on respiratory as one of its key therapeutic classes, GSK is expecting Trelegy and its first-to-market triple status to help deliver over a very crowded dual therapy market. Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim and AstraZeneca all have dual-drug products that compete directly with GSK’s Anoro. AstraZeneca is currently working on a three-in-one drug, dubbed PT010, although it isn’t expected to make its first regulatory submission until later this year.