Novartis launches DTC campaign for Entresto

Novartis said it expects Entresto, its slow-to-take heart-failure medication, to generate $200 million in sales in 2016 as it kicks off a DTC campaign to help drive awareness of the drug.

The spot is called Tomorrow and features Entresto users going about their daily routines while singing the song Tomorrow from the musical Annie.

During a call with investors, David Epstein, the division head of Novartis Pharmaceuticals, said Entresto earned a “modest” $17 million in sales during the first quarter of 2016, but sees significant growth potential in the U.S. for the drug as patient access improves. By the end of 2016, the drugmaker expects Entresto to generate $200 million in revenue.



“The first quarter was going to be tackling access barriers, which we accomplished,” Novartis CEO Joseph Jimenez said during the call. “There still is prior authorization that's slowing some uptake as well as physician reluctance to switch stable patients, but we're working very hard on this and we're still very confident in long-term peak sales of Entresto just given the data on that drug.”

Novartis' plans to promote Entresto are underway, with the DTC campaign and bringing in additional sales representatives. The drugmaker is also conducting two Phase III studies supporting new indications, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) and the prevention of heart failure and cardiovascular death post-myocardial infarction (HF post-MI).

See also: Novartis says slow Entresto sales due to limited access

The Swiss drugmaker said it anticipates that sales of Entresto and psoriasis skin treatment Cosentyx to offset losses from Gleevec. The loss of patent exclusivity for Gleevec in the U.S. contributed to its12% decrease in revenue in the first quarter of 2016.

Sales of Gleevec dropped 22% after a generic version of the cancer drug launched in the U.S. on February 1.

Jimenez said Cosentyx is “doing extremely well.” Launched in February, the product made $176 million in revenue. The drugmaker credited long-term efficacy data for its strong growth.

See also: Novartis: Cardiologists slow to advocate on behalf of new drugs

“We're outpacing competition with strong share gains in the psoriasis market,” said Jimenez. “In Germany, we have already bypassed Stelara in terms of market share. And we are on track that before the end of this year, it is quite likely that we could bypass the market share for Humira, which would make Cosentyx the number one biologic brand in the German market.”