In Novartis' newest Cosentyx push, active, real-life patients take center stage

Novartis has already featured real-life patients in its “See Me” campaign for Cosentyx in psoriasis. Now, as it showcases the medication as a psoriatic arthritis treatment, it’s going a similar route.

Three Cosentyx patients star in the Swiss drugmaker’s newest TV spot, “Watch Me.” And where “See Me” focuses refusing to let psoriasis define your appearance, the appropriately action-oriented “Watch Me” features patients refusing to let psoriatic arthritis define their daily activities.

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“Psoriatic arthritis tries to get in my way? Watch me,” one patient says as she gets out of bed to assemble lunches for her family and attend a football game. “I’ve tried lots of things for my joint pain. Now, watch me,” another says as he plays pinball with friends as an arcade. “Think I’d give up showing these guys how it’s done? Please,” a barre teacher adds.

As the narration notes, “real people with active psoriatic arthritis are changing they way they fight it”and that’s the message Novartis is working to drive home. It highlights the blockbuster as “a different kind of targeted biologic” before the ad closes out with high fives all around.

In a class that’s blowing up as rapidly as Cosentyx’ IL-17, different is good. Since Cosentyx first won its psoriasis approval in early 2015, a flurry of competitors have rolled out their own rivals. Among them? Eli Lilly, which debuted Taltz, and Johnson & Johnson, which now markets Tremfya. None of the new meds have matched the psoriatic arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis nods Cosentyx picked up in early 2016, though.

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Of course, that’s not to say they won’t. Taltz is in phase 3 trials as a treatment for axial spondyloarthritis, a set of conditions that includes ankylosing spondylitis. And outside the class, J&J has already filed Simponi Aria as a therapy for both ankylosing spondylitis and psoriatic arthritis. Other drugmakers such as Celgene and Pfizer are churning out psoriatic arthritis data, too.

Novartis, though, has relished its head start in the field; Cosentyx’ newer indications helped it rack up $1.13 billion last year.