MM&M All-Stars Small Pharma Marketing Team of the Year: Vyvanse (Shire)

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Shire is in an enviable place with its ADHD franchise. About three years ago, the specialty biopharma company received US approval for Vyvanse in children, then in 2008 wrote the brand's second act—an adult indication.

But the curtain's still up on Act I. Three years after the pediatric approval, despite two branded ADHD competitors and two generic versions of predecessor drug Adderall XR (both authorized), Vyvanse continues to grow share aggressively.

“It's actually a perfect situation to have,” says Bob Prachar, VP and GM for Vyvanse, “a maturing, accepted market in pediatrics and an evolving market on the adult side.”

A Schedule II, prodrug stimulant with the potential to curb abuse, Vyvanse has a 14% share of the ADHD market, and new prescriptions are increasing in the healthy double digits.

“What we've been able to do is show physicians where there isn't as good a [symptom] control as they would like, that Vyvanse is a great choice,” explains Mike Yasick, Shire SVP for ADHD.

Vyvanse's success has had a lot to do with their ability to differentiate the product from other formulations and build awareness around ADHD as a treatable adult, as well as pediatric, condition. With a new co-promotion deal with GlaxoSmithKline and patent protection locked up until 2025, this brand may be hitting its stride.

Ads have stressed Vyvanse's consistent efficacy across patients and longer duration of action than other options. “We've been at the forefront of helping the world appreciate that ADHD is not just [a school- or work-time disorder],” says Prachar.  

Labeling stated “through 6 pm,” proved valuable in communicating with professionals looking to manage patients' symptoms throughout the day with one dose.

Patient debit, copay and voucher offers helped translate quickly into market share.
Leaving samples was not an option for the Schedule II product. Shire has implemented a range of DTP tactics, including print ads in parenting and women's magazines, unbranded TV and in-office patient materials.

Meanwhile, the company initiated clinical studies in adult ADHD. Supporting the adult approval was a national multimedia unbranded campaign featuring Howie Mandel talking about his struggles with adult ADHD. The campaign helped de-stigmatize the disorder and garnered a Gold in last year's MM&M Awards.

The firm also has been very active with web-based, closed-loop marketing—disseminating objective disease-state information to help moms and other caregivers with decision-making, then offering the option to enter a dialogue on how their child, or the caregivers themselves, are fairing.

On the professional side, buys in ADHD-focused journals combine with the efforts of Shire's 570-person specialist-dedicated ADHD sales force (along with another 600 from GSK calling on psychiatrists and PCPs) and promotional med-ed programs. E-detailing has helped “get to outlying areas,” Prachar says.

Shire hopes to win an adolescent indication later this year.

Reps from Shire and GSK carry Vyvanse as well as Intuniv—Shire's newest ADHD product, launched late last year—in their bags. While Vyvanse is indicated for treating inattention, hyperactivity and impulsivity, Intuniv—a non-scheduled substance—is for those 6-17 who exhibit disruptive behavior like arguing, temper outbursts or deliberately annoying others.

The company will continue to help patients understand their condition and how it can be treated and invest in working with physicians to help them diagnose and treat ADHD appropriately. “We're looking for new opportunities all the time,” says Yasick. “We think there's still a lot of unmet need in ADHD.”

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