Bristol-Myers Squibb adds new fundraising options, celeb partners to 'Ready. Raise. Rise.' I-O push

The "Ready. Raise. Rise." campaign from BMS to raise immuno-oncology awareness is back with new spokespeople.

Bristol-Myers Squibb’s “Ready. Raise. Rise.” campaign to raise immuno-oncology awareness is back for its third year with two new ambassadors. Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott and actress Tia Mowry will join the campaign’s original celebrity spokesman, actor Eric Stonestreet of “Modern Family” fame.

This year’s online campaign also includes more ways for participants to raise money. By completing specific social actions—raising a virtual flag in honor of someone with cancer, sending a message of support or viewing and sharing educational content about immuno-oncology research—participants earn one point for the advocacy group of their choice. Bristol-Myers Squibb will then donate $1 for every point earned, up to $150,000, to be divided among the groups. Groups that get 5,000 or more points will also get a chance to have actor Stonestreet visit one of their events.

The campaign was initially launched in 2015 to not only highlight immuno-oncology research but to honor and support cancer patients and the cancer community, a BMS spokeswoman said via email. That year, more than 50,000 virtual flags were posted.

Also as part of this year’s effort, BMS commissioned a survey run by Kantar TNS that found awareness of immuno-oncology is still low. Some 88% of Americans said that cancer research is important to them, but only 25% are familiar with immuno-oncology research. More promising, however, is the fact that 83% said they’d like to know more about how the immune system can fight cancer.

“'Ready. Raise. Rise.' helps bring together the cancer community to spread awareness of research developments and provide a meaningful platform to honor everyone who plays a role in fighting this disease,” Teresa Bitetti, senior vice president, U.S. Oncology, Bristol-Myers Squibb, said in a statement.

Bristol-Myers Squibb markets the immuno-oncology drug Opdivo, which is approved as a first-line therapy for metastatic melanoma and as a later-line option in lung, kidney, blood, head and neck, and bladder cancers. The drug fell behind in the lung cancer race after failing a front-line monotherapy study and watching key competitor Keytruda from Merck not only succeed in its own trial, but score an FDA approval. But BMS is still pursuing a spot in the lineup of treatments available for first-line lung cancer, developing a combination of Opdivo and CTLA4 therapy Yervoy.