ASCO: Amgen connects Chicago artists, social media voices in BiTE marketing push

Chicago street artist Nate Baranowski with his 3D chalk art created for an Amgen campaign using local artist and influencers at the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology. (Amgen)

Amgen Oncology did its Windy City homework before the annual meeting of the American Society for Clinical Oncology (ASCO). Its mission? Find local artists and social media influencers to partner on a campaign to spotlight its bispecific T cell engager (BiTE) platform.

Amgen tapped Chicago street artists Shaun Hays and Nate Baranowski to create 3D chalk artwork near the Field Museum and Shedd Aquarium—and at Amgen's booth onsite at ASCO—for several days during the meeting.

Meanwhile, Chicago-area social media influencers tweeted and posted the artwork to let people know that for every photo or post tagged #BiTEtheEngager, Amgen would donate to Chicago Public School funds. The donations—with $20,000 guaranteed—will pay for science-based classroom campaigns on DonorsChoose.org.

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Danielle Moss, founder of Everygirl and Everymom, shared photos of the artwork when she visited with her daughter, writing on Instagram: “My biggest hope for my daughter is that she’ll grow up to be kind. That she will have empathy and will always think of and help others. I brought her to the park at the Field Museum today to see how an artist is visualizing the future of cancer research.”

Amgen is keen to promote its BiTE drug development platform as it looks to grow its oncology portfolio. Its first approved drug using BiTE, leukemia fighter Blincyto, has been gaining steam lately with sales increases of 37% for the fourth quarter of 2018 and 31% for the full year, the company reported. Amgen also presented data at ASCO on two BiTE-developed candidates: AMG 420 to treat multiple myeloma and AMG 212 for prostate cancer. And it has more in the pipeline.

RELATED: FDA approves Blincyto to treat a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia

“As a leader in the development of targeted immuno-oncology therapies, we continue to investigate and advance more than a dozen BiTE molecules across a broad range of hematologic malignancies and solid tumors,” said David Reese, Amgen's executive vice president of research and development, in a press release. "These data at the ASCO Annual Meeting reinforce the potential of BiTE technology for patients with difficult-to-treat cancers like multiple myeloma and prostate cancer."

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