With Pancreaze, a drug for cystic fibrosis patients, Vivus is stepping into an unfamiliar market. So earlier this month, it sponsored a fundraising event to get its name out.
The California drugmaker, best known for obesity drug Qsymia and erectile dysfunction therapy Stendra, backed the Dallas-Fort Worth chapter of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as it put on its CF Climb—a 1,555 step trek through AT&T Stadium, the home of the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys.
But the company’s support wasn’t solely financial. Some of Vivus’ employees also participated in the event, which traversed all four levels of the stadium.
“We are committed to improving the lives of CF patients, and intend to pursue activities beyond the marketing of Pancreaze, such as the CF Climb, that allow us to support the CF community. We are proud of the Vivus employees who will travel to Arlington to participate in the climb,” CEO John Amos said in a statement ahead of the event.
Pancreaze treats exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, a common CF complication that results from a pancreatic enzyme deficiency. The drug, which won its FDA approval in 2010, is specifically indicated for EPI caused by cystic fibrosis, among other conditions.
Vivus nabbed U.S. and Canadian rights to Pancreaze back in June, handing $135 million to Johnson & Johnson’s Janssen. The move was just Vivus’ first, Amos said at the time, pledging to “acquire additional assets that we believe will generate significant clinical and commercial value.”
So far, though, the company’s on-market products haven’t been able to do that. Qsymia, like rivals Belviq and Contrave, failed to make a splash in the obesity market, and two pharma marketing partners—Endo and Sanofi—have returned rights to Stendra after suffering poor sales.