Auvi-Q maker Kaléo recruits NASCAR star to talk up anaphylaxis prep

NASCAR driver Elliott Sadler will travel the country speaking about his son's experiences with a life-threatening peanut allergy. (Kaléo)

Kaléo, maker of EpiPen rival Auvi-Q, returns to the wide world of sports to highlight severe allergies and the life-threatening reactions they can cause—the very reactions Auvi-Q is meant to combat.

For the face of the campaign, Kaléo recruited NASCAR Xfinity Series racecar driver Elliott Sadler, whose son Wyatt is allergic to peanuts—and carries Auvi-Q as insurance against his life-threatening anaphylaxis. Over the next several months, Sadler will travel the country to talk about his son's experiences and how to be prepared for a serious reaction.

“To outperform the competition as a NASCAR driver, it's key to be safe, fast and have clear verbal direction. The same can be said for those who need to be prepared in the event of a life-threatening allergic reaction,” Kaléo said in a statement.

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Kaléo is pushing that “verbal direction” element in particular, as Auvi-Q’s step-by-step voice instructions are its hallmark—and a benefit that Mylan's market dominator EpiPen can’t boast.

The feature, which Kaléo calls the Auvi-Q Trainer, “is designed to guide an untrained user through the steps to administer epinephrine safely using Auvi-Q in an allergic emergency, much like how Elliott's chief crew communicates with him throughout the race. It's important to act fast, but safely,” Kaléo said in a statement.

“Anyone who’s watching Wyatt can learn how to use it. Even Wyatt knows what to do,” Sadler said.

RELATED: Kaléo, maker of EpiPen rival Auvi-Q, teams up on peanut-free baseball games

Last year, Kaléo took a different sports-related tack to help it drum up severe allergy awareness. It linked up with Minor League Baseball (MiLB) to help teams across the country host peanut-free games. Those events nixed in-park sales of peanuts or peanut-containing products and included inside-the-park informational displays and messaging. That effort will continue this MiLB season, a spokeswoman said.

RELATED: Mylan visits Disney Parks for a little EpiPen marketing magic

Meanwhile, Mylan has done its part to increase awareness around severe allergies, too. Its ultrarealistic “Face Your Risk” campaign showed an anaphylactic attack through the eyes of a teenage girl, and it’s joined forces with Disney in the past to roll out EpiPen stations in parks and on cruise ships.

And Auvi-Q has a long way to go. Though EpiPen has lost market share lately—its four-week share as of April 20 had dropped by 74.3% year over year—it's mostly Impax Labs and its Adrenaclick injection stealing prescriptions, at least for now. Auvi-Q's piece of the pie only amounts to 1.2%, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Randall Stanicky.

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