GSK, fresh from Ojjaara approval, allies with ex-"Queer Eye" star to run myelofibrosis education campaign

GSK is building its presence in the myelofibrosis community. Working with interior designer and former "Queer Eye" star Thom Filicia, the Big Pharma is launching the Mapping Myelofibrosis health education initiative to support patients with the blood cancer treated by its recently approved drug Ojjaara.

Filicia has a personal connection to the condition. A decade ago, the interior designer’s brother received a myelofibrosis diagnosis. A few months later, Filicia donated bone marrow to his brother. At that time,  there were “many questions, few treatment options and hard-to-understand resources to sift through,” Filicia said. New treatments have since come to market, but Filicia sees a need for better education. 

“A need remains for more resources for those experiencing symptoms without a clear diagnosis, and for those living with the disease. Through this experience, we’ve recognized the importance of being able to chart one’s own path. I've joined GSK and the Mapping Myelofibrosis initiative to increase awareness of this blood cancer,” Filicia said. 

Filicia made the comment in a 90-second video. In the film, Filicia, sitting in an impeccably appointed room, talks to the camera and flicks through old family photos. The personal tone of the video is in line with the rest of the campaign, which includes another film with Filicia about signs and symptoms of the disease and a GSK-sponsored podcast that describes another patient journey in its first episode. 

The unbranded campaign comes as GSK works to establish Ojjaara as a treatment for intermediate- or high-risk myelofibrosis in patients with anemia. GSK won FDA approval for the drug, which it acquired in its $1.9 billion takeover of Sierra Oncology, in September. The approval positioned GSK to start to try to loosen Incyte’s grip on the myelofibrosis market. 

Surprisingly, the approval cleared Ojjaara for first-line use. The unbranded campaign is intended to help people at the start of their treatment journeys, with GSK including pages about the signs and symptoms of myelofibrosis and how the condition is diagnosed on the website.