Sanofi, Regeneron dive deep on asthma in debut digital awareness campaign

Inflating lungs anchor Sanofi and Regeneron's homepage for "The Next Breath" awareness effort to highlight severe asthma. (Sanofi)

Most people know what asthma is, but even asthma patients can underestimate it. Sanofi and Regeneron’s new online disease awareness campaign highlights the problems of uncontrolled asthma.

“The Next Breath” campaign, launched on World Asthma Day in May, aims to make patients, caregivers and others aware that uncontrolled moderate to severe asthma can have a big impact on daily life. On the website, several patients tell their personal stories about living with uncontrolled asthma in videos. Sanofi and Regeneron's biologic Dupixent added an indication for asthma in October.

Sanofi’s own research found that up to 50% of asthma patients who have reported severe symptoms still consider their asthma to be well controlled, said Brian Foard, global lead for dermatology and respiratory at Sanofi Genzyme. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 45% of people with asthma reported one or more asthma attacks.

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“Patients learn to live with a lot of these things. They say ‘Oh, it’s just normal that I can’t climb the stairs or play with my grandkids’ or do other activities that are quite frankly normal for everyone else. So we really think that’s important to really shine a light on for this asthma community,” Foard said.

The campaign is purposefully online, given many people’s preference to consume information that way and making it more convenient to access. This is just the beginning of the work, Foard said, anticipating that it will continue and evolve with new information and input in the future. Posts on social media sites Twitter and Facebook are meant to drive traffic to the website.

“We have a pretty significant ambition in this specialty respiratory space and bringing good quality care to these patients,” Foard said.

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Sanofi and Regeneron's IL-4 and IL-13 blocker Dupixent was first approved to treat atopic dermatitis in 2017, and it picked up an FDA nod in the fall to treat moderate and severe asthma patients with an eosinophilic phenotype or those who are dependent on an oral corticosteroid. Dupixent is just one of many newer biologic asthma treatments vying for market share along with GlaxoSmithKline’s Nucala, Teva Pharmaceutical’s Cinqair, AstraZeneca’s Fasenra, and Roche and Novartis’ Xolair.