PM360 2019 Trailblazer Awards Product/Service Launch Winner ITF Pharma Inc. and Calcium

“Free Bird” (ITF Pharma Inc., Calcium)

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), a.k.a. Lou Gehrig’s disease, is a wasting disease that causes many physical problems, including its hallmark symptom—dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), which can lead to patients choking as they try to take tablet medications. That difficulty represented an unmet need for a medication that could be easily swallowed by ALS patients.

Enter ITF Pharma’s Tiglutik®, the first and only easy-to-swallow, liquid riluzole especially formulated for people with dysphagia. As a newcomer to the rare disease category, the company launched the Tiglutik “Free Bird” Campaign, defining their commitment to serving patients, caregivers, and prescribers with unmet needs. The company worked with Calcium to get the word out about their life-extending product through patient and HCP websites, branded and unbranded education, specialty pharmacy fliers, and ALS communities, patients, and advocacy groups.

ITF Pharma wanted to establish goodwill with these groups—and did. They were able to raise awareness of Tiglutik’s proven benefits and reinforce continued riluzole use in a liquid that is meaningfully and clinically differentiated from tablets to become the preferred formulation for all ALS patients. Their campaign also sought to ensure affordability and robust access to the drug to maximize adoption and sustained use.

On top of that, the “Free Bird” campaign distinguished itself from other ALS communications through its uplifting feel, uniting all audiences through an optimistic voice and engaging graphic visualization that helps people understand the life-extending benefits of riluzole treatment.

Since the launch, the ALS community’s response has been extremely positive and emotionally moving. Considering that the target audience for a rare disease is very narrow, prescription uptake of Tiglutik continues to experience healthy growth with each new month. The entire ALS rare disease category has benefited from the launch of Tiglutik, having brought with it increased visibility of patient symptoms and awareness of the continuing need for more effective treatments.


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