Can Regeneron make 'monoclonal antibodies' a catchphrase? New COVID-19 ad campaign gives it a go

29 April 2021

Beth Snyder Bulik / FiercePharma

What's the hottest new catchphrase on TV? Monoclonal antibodies. Well, maybe not yet, but the phrase is the star of Regeneron's new TV ad campaign.

In one of four new TV ads, people wearing face masks go about their day casually chatting to one another or listening to the radio, repeating the phrase “monoclonal antibodies.” Then a doctor on a telehealth call tells an older male patient that he has COVID-19 and adds “let’s talk about monoclonal antibodies.”

The first two TV commercials in the national campaign launched this week, with two more set to roll out over the next few days, a Regeneron spokesperson said.

The goal? Raise awareness of—you guessed it—monoclonal antibodies as a treatment option for COVID-19. While Regeneron is aiming to educate the general public, it’s giving special attention to key target groups. Those include Black and Hispanic communities, people at high risk of progression to severe COVID-19, people in at-risk occupations, and healthcare providers, the spokesperson said.

The campaign will run on TV, radio, digital, search and social media across 19 U.S. markets, targeting areas of the country where treatment infection rates are high and where monoclonal antibodies are available. Airing in both English and Spanish, the ad campaign should reach about 40% of Americans with its message.

The ads redirect consumers to two websites—SeekTreatmentNow.com and ActuarYa.com—for more information. Patients and healthcare providers can click through to Department of Health and Human Services websites.

While the patient and HCP sites are tailored to each audience, both describe high-risk patients and include a treatment center locator and phone numbers for additional help.

Regeneron hopes “to spark dialogue between patients and physicians, and convey the need for rapid action after a positive COVID-19 test result in case you qualify for a mAb treatment,” the spokesperson said in an email, adding the campaign is meant to complement other awareness efforts including HHS’ own “Combat Covid” work.

The campaign comes as Regeneron pushes its own REGEN-COV antibody treatment—a combination of casirivimab and imdevimab—but also amid emerging COVID-19 variants. The FDA initially requested that Regeneron as well as Lilly monitor the newer variants and potentially conduct additional tests of their authorized antibody drugs against them. 

Then last week, the FDA revoked Lilly's emergency use approval for its antibody therapy bamlanivimab when used alone. At the same time, the FDA confirmed the use of combination monoclonal antibody therapies, such as Regeneron's, which “remain appropriate treatment choices ... and can help keep high-risk patients with COVID-19 out of the hospital."

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