Talking hands want answers in Endo's new disease awareness ads for Dupuytren’s contracture. In two TV ads, wrinkles in the palm of a contorted hand morph into a face that asks, “Can we talk?”
What the hands want to talk about is the difficulty playing piano, shaking hands with customers or throwing a ball with grandkids when bent fingers can’t be straightened. That condition, as the ads point out, may be Dupuytren’s Contracture.
The International Dupuytren Society estimates 1-3% of the population in Western industrialized nations has the condition, although the proportion varies from country to country. In the U.S., 25% of middle-aged or elderly individuals develop either contractures of the hand (Dupuytren’s) or foot (Ledderhose’s disease), the society says. Endo pointed to research published by the National Institutes of Health that found that Dupuytren's disease affects up to 7% of adults in the United States.
Endo’s drug Xiaflex is approved to treat Dupuytren’s as well as Peyronie's Disease, which causes an abnormal curvature in the penis. More auspicious, however, is the drug’s successful early trials in treating cellulite, for which there is no current FDA-approved drug.
On Endo’s first-quarter earnings call, CEO Paul Campanelli outlined the drug's successes to date and said, “We remain excited about the prospects for Xiaflex in cellulite." The company plans to start phase 3 studies in the second half of this year.
Xiaflex sales amounted to $190 million in 2016, up 20% year over year. Sales were also up 12% in the first quarter of 2017, with company executives projecting that Xiaflex will continue “to grow in the high-single to low-double-digits percent range.”
An Endo spokesperson said, via email about the campaign, "While DC is a chronic condition that can reoccur, it lacks the large scale patient advocacy support other conditions benefit from. Endo is committed to helping educate individuals suffering from this condition and partnering with others who are committed to helping achieve this goal."
Both ads began running June 13, but have been low spenders, with neither totaling more than $50,000 in national TV ad buys, according to data from real-time TV ad tracker iSpot.tv.
Beginning last September, Endo went through a series of management changes from the C-suite level on down through the marketing ranks. Campanelli took the helm and later named Patrick Barry as senior VP of U.S. branded pharmaceuticals. Matthew Davis moved in as senior VP for research and development, branded pharmaceuticals.
Editor's Note: This story was updated to include comments from Endo Pharmaceuticals.