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Achieving remission

Differentiating RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA in a rapidly growing marketplace

Published: 20 Jul 2010

An elderly person with arthritic hands trying to open a jar

Client: F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd

Agency: Cohn & Wolfe

Campaign: RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA: beyond the boundaries of existing treatments

Timescale: 2008 to 2009

A quick look

RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA was successfully established pre-launch as a promising new treatment approach for rheumatoid arthritis, based on its unique mode of action (MOA). As anticipation grew, an intelligent media strategy was required, to craft a brand story and differentiate it in a rapidly growing marketplace. This required an intelligent shift in communications from MOA to reason to prescribe, to patient benefits. A combination of data releases and creative digital outreach at high-profile rheumatology congresses enhanced a traditional communications programme, providing a platform to build a strong story for RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA during its launch year. 


•    Tumor necrosis factor (TNF) inhibitors are dominant, having been on the market for 10 years. Extensive clinical experience of these treatments makes it difficult to introduce new therapies with different mode of actions
•    Opportunities for new entrants to communicate data are limited to congresses, leading to intense competition for share of voice (SOV)
•    Pre-launch communications for RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA highlighted a unique mode of action. Towards launch, emphasis was needed to give strong rationale for prescribing.


Taking a leadership position and communicating beyond the congress room meant RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA could be positioned as a realistic first-choice option with strong efficacy and safety, rather than merely a promising candidate.

•    Global brand vocabulary ensured all external communications were consistent with key messages
•    Key journalists were targeted with a media outreach programme to deliver coverage with influence
•    Roche Twitter profile issued congress tweets, providing influencers with the opportunity to respond quickly and drive conversation online
•    Online monitoring tools tracked RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA noise, identifed top influencers and tonality of digital conversations
•    Close collaboration with investor relations increased interest beyond medical media
•    ‘Realising the goal of remission’ media briefing held at EULAR 2009
•    Media attendees provided with a bespoke suite of press materials, developed to accommodate different audiences
•    Onsite media interviews scheduled with KOLs involved in clinical trials.


•    Increase ACR 2009 media SOV by >10% compared to ACR 2008 (50%).  RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA generated a 16% increase in media share of voice to 66%, compared to the second highest competitor share of 16%
•    Position RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA as the treatment offering patients the best chance of long-lasting remission. “Patients treated with RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA achieve consistently high remission rates which increase over time” (86% articles)
•    Attendance of >20 journalists at press briefing. Attendance of 30 journalists from 13 countries
•    Create rapid response channel for RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA’s media communications. 33 re-tweets and 74 unique online posts created
•    Direct reach to >2,000 online influencers. Twitter communications reached 22,361 influencers.

Client verdict

“The team’s intelligent and strategic thinking has helped us shape a story that differentiates RoACTEMRA / ACTEMRA from its competitors, maintaining a consistently high level of media interest prior to and during its launch year. This is reflected in the excellent results achieved.”

Peter Bayliss, Head of Global Inflammation Communications, F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd.

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