Thyroid eye disease (TED) is rare and often misunderstood. Patients struggle with pain, disfigurement, emotional isolation and severe vision impairment. Until now, only the symptoms were treatable, leaving both patients and doctors with a sense of inevitability and hopelessness.

With the introduction of Tepezza, Horizon Therapeutics needed to convince patients to take action to discover a new approach. Being first to market with a long-awaited, potentially disease-reversing treatment, it had the opportunity to disrupt and own the category. But to be successful, it needed to reverse the “silent acceptance” with large-scale visibility and excitement. It also needed to motivate patients with progressing symptoms to get to their physicians’ office. 

This launch approached people with TED by taking the wide variety of symptoms into account — it’s a condition that affects everyone differently. Patients are looking for messages that they can relate to and speak the language of their unique journey. Marketing brought symptoms into focus by using the metaphors and descriptions patients themselves rely on.

Judges admire how Tepezza connects with patients by putting the eye front and center in a bold, bright and symptomatically insightful way. Animation better enables it to speak to the horrific symptoms without showing real imagery, provoking a visceral reaction from patients. And it convinces them they finally have a legitimate weapon against TED.

Tepezza received approval in January 2020, and five weeks later, the sales team was pulled from the field due to COVID. Despite this, more than 1,000 patients completed therapy in 2020.