Clinical Data hires reps for Viibryd launch

Now that Clinical Data has an FDA approval in hand, it's gearing up to grab a piece of the $12 billion antidepressant market. The company is hiring sales reps and rolling out a marketing campaign to support its new drug Viibryd, hailed as the first SSRI without troublesome sexual side effects. Viibryd will face some entrenched competition, including branded drugs such as Cymbalta and Lexapro, as well as a slew of generics.

As Medical Marketing & Media reports, Clinical Data started early this year with a print campaign designed to prepare the ground for a launch. Advertorials pointed out side effects of existing antidepressants and suggested that patients might need another, better-tolerated alternative. Meanwhile, a New York ad agency is working on branding, and others are preparing to target payers and physicians.

Clinical Data CEO Drew Fromkin told MM&M that he's aiming to have 150 reps ready to go for a second-quarter launch. They'll target psychiatrists first, then aim to expand into primary care. Marketing materials will focus on Viibryd's differences from existing meds. The drug will be touted as the "first and only" antidepressant to combine an SSRI and a serotonin 1a receptor partial agonist in one molecule, Fromkin said.

Of course, Viibryd's side-effect profile will see the spotlight, too. "We have a very safe drug here, and the adverse events are very different than you see in other [depression] drugs," Fromkin said. And although the CEO didn't mention it specifically, you can bet that marketing will get around to talking about the data on sexual side effects, which didn't crop up in Viibryd patients more often than they did in those taking placebo.

- read the MM&M piece

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