Darzalex maker J&J taps celebrity British designer for story-based blood cancer push

Raising awareness of blood cancers such as leukemia, is J&J's goal with its annual campaign this time with a celebrity ambassador. (Motortion/Getty)

British home stylist Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen has signed on with Johnson & Johnson to shine a spotlight on blood cancer and its symptoms. Llewelyn-Bowen was 9-years-old when his father died of leukemia, and he's joined with four patients to tell their stories in mini-films.

The “Make Blood Cancer Visible” effort runs through the month of September with digital, social media and public relations meant to drive earlier diagnosis. September is Blood Cancer Awareness Month.

The campaign began in 2017 to raise awareness of blood cancer symptoms after Janssen found that “a high number of patients see their GP more than three times before receiving a diagnosis." Some are even diagnosed in emergency departments.

On-Demand Webinar

De-Risking the Solid Form Landscape of an API

This presentation will discuss how predictable stability and solubility can minimize development timelines and cost. Attend to hear about two case studies exemplifying the importance of understanding the hydration space of an API and how hydrate formation may be avoided by development of a robust crystallization procedure.

RELATED: Johnson & Johnson raises a flag in early-stage lung cancer with first-ever contest in the field

“Janssen determined that 2019 was the year to focus on driving earlier diagnosis of blood cancer. It was assumed that by raising public awareness of the symptoms and supporting healthcare professionals in the recognition of these, the campaign would drive earlier diagnosis,” a spokeswoman said via email.

The mini-documentary marks the first time Llewelyn-Bowen, who hosted the popular BBC television show “Changing Rooms,” has spoken on film about losing his father, she said.

Llewelyn-Bowen talks about the fact that blood cancers were "mysterious" back when his orthopedic surgeon father died and remain so today because they lack clear-cut symptoms. Other patients talk about making multiple trips to the doctor before finding answers, and failing to realize their symptoms were potential signs of a blood cancer, such as leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma.

RELATED: J&J's Darzalex pads blockbuster sales with another myeloma nod in new patients

Janssen drugs approved to treat those types of cancers include Imbruvica, in a partnership with AbbVie, to treat certain leukemia and lymphomas, and Darzalex to treat multiple myeloma. Both are important products in J&J’s oncology portfolio—2018 sales of Imbruvica were $2.62 billion and Darzalex were $2.03 billion worldwide.

Suggested Articles

J&J's talc woes deepened Friday after the FDA turned up "sub-trace" levels of asbestos one bottle of the company's baby powder,…

Another major drugmaker is recalling in the U.K. 10 batches of its Zantac generics because they contain a possible carcinogen.

With diagnosis rates on the rise, Pfizer's Vyndaqel franchise could collect $157 million in 2019 U.S. sales, well above consensus, SVB Leerink says.