Sanofi, Regeneron turn to photos, data plots to set Libtayo apart from I-O rivals

Libtayo bottle and box
Sanofi and Regeneron use patient before-and-after photos to market Libtayo to physicians. (Sanofi Genzyme/Regeneron)

They say a picture’s worth a thousand words, and Sanofi and Regeneron are using that exchange rate to their advantage with Libtayo.

The teammates have FDA approval to show before-and-after pictures of cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma patients who have been treated with the immuno-oncology drug—a clearance that’s unique among the PD-1/PD-L1 class. And so far, it’s helping uptake, E.B. Brakewood, vice president and general manager of Regeneron’s oncology business unit, said in a recent interview.

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After all, the companies are working to build Libtayo awareness among not just medical oncologists, but other types of doctors, too—including nose surgeons and head and neck surgeons.

Those medical professionals “inherently kind of speak a different language from the medical oncologist,” Brakewood said. “They’re very visual, and they see and deal with pictures much more, so we’re really excited to be able to show people kind of representative patient case studies of what the product is doing.”

The partners aren’t limiting themselves to photos when it comes to visuals, though. Sanofi and Regeneron were also the first in their class to use a spider plot—which shows over time how the size of each individual patient’s tumor changes—and a waterfall plot, which illustrates the best responses that patients have.

It’s a “relatively quick and easy way to summarize a large data set,” Brakewood said, adding that, “There’s been some innovative representations of the data in what we’re able to do commercially.”

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And innovative marketing is exactly what the pair might need if Libtayo can post positive results in lung cancer, touted by its makers as the drug’s next frontier. Unlike in cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma, where it’s not battling any in-class rivals, if it can snag a lung cancer green light, it’ll go up against some serious competition.

Merck’s Keytruda dominates the market with two approvals in previously untreated patients, while Roche has a new approval of its own. Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca, meanwhile, are both aiming to work their way into the market, too.

Still, Brakewood said he “absolutely” still sees room for additional entrants. “I think there’s still a significant unmet need in lung cancer, especially in first-line, and there’s really only been one product to date that’s been able to demonstrate the evidence that people are looking for,” he said.

“We’re excited about potentially being one of those entrants,” he added, and “beyond that, we’ll have to see what the data look like in trials.”