Novartis puts ‘Sopranos’ actor in TV spot for MS drug Kesimpta

Novartis woke up one morning and hired itself a mom, putting Jamie-Lynn Sigler of The Sopranos fame at the center of a new TV spot focused on how Kesimpta empowers multiple sclerosis patients to use their time their way. 

Sigler, who played Tony Soprano’s daughter Meadow in the show, was diagnosed with MS aged 20 but only discussed her condition publicly almost 15 years later. At that time, the actor was taking Biogen’s Tecfidera, having previously “run the gamut” with MS drugs, but had suffered damage that prevented her from walking for long periods of time without resting and made stairs challenging. 

Today, Sigler is taking Kesimpta, a targeted B-cell therapy for patients with relapsing multiple sclerosis that received FDA approval shortly before Sigler first spoke about her MS diagnosis publicly. Novartis has made Sigler as the front of push to maintain the momentum of the Kesimpta launch.

The ad opens with a shot of Sigler, described as a mom, actor and MS advocate taking Kesimpta, in a kitchen. Talking to camera while packing a kid’s lunch, Sigler says “I have relapsing MS, but I still want to spend my time, my way.” The actor, smiling into the camera, adds that she chose Kesimpta “because it works for me, and my schedule.”

A voiceover then discusses the “powerful results” associated with Kesimpta over shots of Sigler reading a script in a dressing room. Cutting back to the kitchen, the ad shows Sigler taking a small package out of a fridge and explaining that she takes Kesimpta once a month at home or on the go. “When I'm ready, treatment time is less than a minute, so more of my time, is up to me time,” Sigler says.

The voiceover lists the side effects and contraindications over shots of Sigler playing catch with a kid, recording a podcast and walking, talking, playing, eating and drinking with friends. In the final shot, Sigler delivers another piece to camera, petting a dog as her friends chat in the background. Sigler’s last message is that “Kesimpta fits my life, so how I fill my time, is up to me.”

Sigler is one of a fast-growing number of people who have concluded Kesimpta is the right MS drug for them. Sales of the product rose 124% to $657 million in the third quarter. Those figures were inflated by a one-time event. Excluding that windfall sales still rose 86%. Novartis CEO Vas Narasimhan told investors on a call to discuss the results that “the whole B-cell class has a long room to grow.”