Genentech Multiple Sclerosis HCP Marketing
Agency Partner: Heartbeat
Genentech Team Members:
Todd Marcero, Marketing Director
Magali Arons, Group Product Manager
Natalie Baynes, Senior Product Manager
Vince Eng, Senior Product Manager
Nickie Gallaher, Senior Product Manager
Heartbeat Team Members:
Nadine Leonard, Managing Director
James Talerico, Managing Director
Alaina Mendoza, Group Account Director
Dan Daley, Group Creative Director
Daniel Maxwell, Group Director, Production
Making Company History
Genentech had one very good thing going for it when it was preparing to launch Ocrevus, a new multiple sclerosis (MS) treatment. The product offers superior clinical and subclinical data that significantly outperformed current platform therapy, and it would be the first-ever treatment in the Primary Progressive form of the disease. To put it simply, Ocrevus had the potential to be one of Genentech’s biggest launches ever.
On the other hand, it also had plenty of challenges that could prevent the team from reaching those lofty expectations. This would be the 14th product in this market, and Genentech had no history in the category and no established relationships with the MS community. The team also had to overcome neurologists’ entrenched habits and try to change the treatment paradigm. Because in MS, the treatment paradigm is to wait until noticeable amounts of disease activity have accumulated before stepping up the efficacy of treatment. But, while time passes, MS progresses, and in many cases, by the time high-efficacy therapies are applied, irreversible damage has already occurred.
The team’s strategy began with an unbranded campaign that paved the way for Ocrevus. “It starts with a flicker,” the unbranded campaign warned: A subtle sign of disease progress—like a single new brain lesion—can portend much more devastating effects of the disease. Next, they launched the branded campaign, which capitalized on the shifting mindset around treating MS and engaging neurologists with a brand that can deliver efficacy when it matters most—when patients have their lives ahead of them rather than behind them.
In the months after launch in March 2017, Ocrevus was covered in almost 5,000 news stories, and 60K web searches were conducted for “Ocrevus.” By the end of the year, Ocrevus was being touted as one of the most successful launches of 2017 by numerous publications—and was considered the most successful launch in Genentech’s history. Most importantly, more than 20,000 patients were treated with Ocrevus by year end.