Novartis builds support for Tafinlar, Mekinist with melanoma photo campaign

Novartis HQ cropped

Lately, it seems that photo campaigns are all the rage in pharma marketing. The latest company to start one up? Novartis.

The Swiss pharma giant’s Canadian arm recently announced the launch of Melanoma Through My Lens, a collaboration with the not-for-profit Save Your Skin Foundation. The campaign will center on a photo series created by 6 Canadians living with advanced melanoma, and it'll showcase their personal experiences with the disease.

Those journeys are available as a photo ebook through Save Your Skin’s website, Novartis said.

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With the effort, Novartis is aiming to “start a conversation about advanced melanoma and the patient journey,” it said in a statement. But it’s also hoping to drum up awareness about the genes and gene mutations that cause melanoma to rear its ugly head.

Novartis markets Tafinlar and Mekinist, which target the BRAF V600E or V600K mutations--a distinction that sets the products apart from hot new melanoma immunotherapies Opdivo from Bristol-Myers Squibb and Keytruda from Merck & Co. Novartis acquired those two targeted meds in its multibillion-dollar asset swap with GlaxoSmithKline last year.

Meanwhile, photo campaigns are familiar territory for many of Novartis’ peers--and for the Basel-based drugmaker itself. Earlier this year, for instance, Shire teamed up with photographer Rick Guidotti to illustrate the perspectives of rare-cancer patients. Previously, Guidotti had joined forces with Novartis on its Skin Impressions campaign, meant to help spread the word about chronic hives and skin plaques.

And pre-Glaxo asset swap, when Novartis’ portfolio included meningitis B vaccine Bexsero, the company teamed up with world-famous photographer Anne Geddes on a series of portraits of children who had survived meningococcal disease; Geddes is now working with GSK on its new “Take 5 for Meningitis” effort, which encourages teens and their parents to talk to their doctors about MenB.

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