Novo's Tresiba hits the airwaves with new TV campaign


Like its fellow diabetes drugmakers, Novo Nordisk ($NVO) rolled out new data on its portfolio meds at the American Diabetes Association meeting last week, including some head-to-head studies favoring its new, longer-acting insulin Tresiba.

The Danish drugmaker has also rolled out a new Tresiba television spot, featuring a trio of hard-working folks who talk up the drug’s long-lasting effects, A1C control, flexible dosing and shelf life. They pun on their jobs--a delivery man says the drug “delivers,” and a barber says he wants to “trim” his A1C--to a R&B-inflected soundtrack.

Novo’s Tresiba launched in the U.S. early this year, and it faces some tough competition in the basal insulin field, both from Sanofi’s ($SNY) long-dominant Lantus and the French drugmaker’s new longer-acting insulin Toujeo.

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So far, according to Leerink Partners data, Tresiba’s launch trajectory has been a bit less impressive than Toujeo’s, but it’s early days yet for both meds. Last week, new scripts for Tresiba were up week-over-week by 20%, according to Leerink’s most recent data, with total scripts amounting to 10,291, a 17.6% hike. Toujeo’s total scripts for the same period surpassed 23,000, with 8,924 of those being new prescriptions.

The new Sanofi insulin rolled out last year, so it has a jump on Tresiba, and the company has been spending big on marketing; on TV ads for Toujeo alone, Sanofi shelled out $30.2 million last year. In April of this year, the company spent more than $7 million on Toujeo commercials, the real-time TV ad tracker reports.

The Tresiba commercial has aired nationally 267 times so far, during network programming such as CBS Morning News and on other channels, according to

One thing the new commercial doesn’t mention, of course, is the new safety data Novo unveiled at ADA. In two head-to-head studies against Lantus, patients using the Novo drug experienced fewer episodes of hypoglycemic episodes, a common side effect of insulin treatment. The company plans to ask the FDA to approve new label language reflecting that data, which would allow it to stress the point in marketing the med.

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