Lab dives into DTC with awareness ads

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Myriad Genetics, a Salt Lake City diagnostics firm which offers testing for genetic susceptibility to breast and ovarian cancer, is launching a northeast regional advertising and public relations awareness campaign.

The effort, featuring TV and radio ads running in New York City, Boston, Providence and Hartford urging women with a family history of the disease to get the test, is a rare foray into consumer advertising for the burgeoning diagnostics sector, but one that's likely to become much more common soon.

Advertising, executed by CommonHealth, includes a cover wrap placed on copies of People Magazine sent to doctor's offices and beauty salons in the Northeast. Professional ads are running in Ob/Gyn journals as well as The Female Patient, and will be complemented by physician mailers. Ogilvy PR is handling the communications for the awareness effort.

Myriad's BRACAnalysis test checks for mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes that have been linked to a heightened risk of breast and ovarian cancer. Around 2% of women have the mutations, said Bill Rusconi, SVP marketing at Myriad, and only 3% of those women know. “A sales force of 140 people is not sufficient to raise awareness fast enough to help women at high risk,” said Rusconi.

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