Botox rivals are on the way, and to get out in front of them, Allergan is fielding a new ad push. Its aim: To get would-be users to ask for the blockbuster drug by name. Otherwise, they might get one of its newer competitors instead—and Allergan wouldn't like that one bit.
Two new spots for Botox Cosmetic—one aimed at men, the other at women—encourage viewers to name-drop the drug at the doctor’s office. In one, a male narrator reminds watchers that, “it’s the details that make the difference,” but “the man makes them matter” as the camera flips through shots of an architect showing his precise work to a child, a runner tying his shoes and setting his watch and a man fixing his collar and tie as he dresses in formalwear.
In the other, a female narrator encourages women to “face the world as a face to be reckoned with” over shots of a dancer practicing in the studio, a photographer shooting photos in the woods and a woman working with colleagues in the office. “Leave your mark on the world. Minimize its mark on you,” the voiceover says as the commercial ends.
Revance Therapeutics spooked Allergan investors in December when its Botox rival, candidate RT002, aced a pair of phase 3 trials. And the smaller company spooked the company again in February when it revealed a tie-up with Mylan to develop a biosimilar of the blockbuster product.
Not all analysts are so worried about Allergan losing marketing share to Newark, California-based Revance. For one, Allergan has a whole suite of aesthetic remedies, and it cuts deals with doctors who use a lineup of them. “[T]he cash-pay bundle of aesthetics products that Allergan offers is a significant barrier to entry” for wannabe rivals, Leerink Partners’ Seamus Fernandez wrote in December.
And then there's the copycat version itself. RBC Capital Markets’ Randall Stanicky has noted that there are “several outstanding questions” around the Mylan biosimilar and how many of Botox’s many indications, both clinical and cosmetic, it’ll go after.
Plus, Wells Fargo’s David Maris pointed out in January that men and women seeking wrinkle relief already specify the Allergan injection. “[M]any patients demand Botox by brand”—and Allergan aims to keep that trend going with the new ads.
Investors aren’t necessarily buying into that optimism, and physician surveys predicted Revance will capture a good-sized piece of the pie. The “Botox competitive threat is real,” Bernstein’s Ronny Gal wrote in January.
Meanwhile, Allergan is still forging ahead with new uses for Botox, which executives have called a "pipeline in a drug." In October, it won a FDA green light to temporarily improve the appearance of forehead lines, an indication the company plugs in the new spots.