9. Brand: Otezla
Company: Celgene through Nov., Amgen after
What is it: oral psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis drug
2019 spend: $155.9 million
2018 spend: $196 million
2019 marked Otezla’s last year under Celgene ownership. The oral psoriasis medication was sold off to Amgen to clear the way for Bristol-Myers Squibb’s acquisition of Celgene. With the deal closed at the end of December, that means a new marketing team and possibly a new strategy for 2020.
Otezla marketing under Amgen, for one month in December, held steady compared with the rest of the year under Celgene, but it’s not a solid indicator of spending going forward, as the end-of-year media was likely bought before the transfer.
Celgene built its ad messaging around the fact that Otezla is a pill versus the other injection or cream options in the next-gen psoriasis field. Otezla DTC advertising first launched in 2015 after the drug's FDA approval the year prior. Newer ads continue to press the “pill that treats differently” angle, but they've also added the differentiator that Otezla does not require routine lab monitoring.
Amgen bought Otezla in a $13.4 billion deal that surprised the industry, as Amgen already owned a big player in the psoriasis market, TNF inhibitor Enbrel, and the deal could have been considered too anticompetitive to please regulators. The FTC, however, noted the difference between the Otezla pill and injectable Enbrel and approved the deal.
Amgen has already said it expects Otezla to deliver double-digit increases annually over the next five years. To help do that, the company is pursuing additional indications including in scalp psoriasis, with an FDA decision date set for April, and in mild-to-moderate psoriasis, with phase 3 study data expected midyear 2020.
Celgene reported global Otezla sales of $1.43 billion for the first nine months of 2019 ($1.15 billion of that in the U.S.), which was a 25% increase over the same period in 2018. Amgen reported total sales of $178 million, $139 million of that in the U.S., from the close of the deal on Nov. 21 through the end of the year.