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ZOLGENSMA® UK Media Launch

by Novartis Gene Therapies
with support from Havas Life Medicom

Summary of work

Novartis Gene Therapies was preparing the UK launch of Zolgensma®, a potentially life-changing single-dose gene therapy dubbed “the world’s most expensive drug”. An exciting scientific concept, however a key challenge was to convey the news and show the true value of the treatment in the NHS as context for its price tag.
Zolgensma is used to treat spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) which, whilst rare, is a devastating neuromuscular disease. Without treatment, infants with severe SMA suffer rapid and irreversible loss of motor neurons, affecting vital muscle functions, including breathing and basic movement. More than 90% do not make their second birthday. Zolgensma is designed to deliver a functioning gene in a one-time treatment to address the genetic root cause of SMA, halt disease progression and provide lifetime benefit.
With a strategy based on media education and collaboration with key experts in SMA, the story on the launch and first infusion broke through a competitive media landscape to achieve broad, multichannel coverage. It achieved the lead story on BBC News and Sky News, 38 broadcast TV and radio pieces, 113 national news articles and 73 trade articles as well as sparking social media conversation.

Judges' comments

The way Novartis and Havas Life Medicom told the story was compelling and this entry stood out for being a bit different. It had a clear strategy to address the challenges of gene therapy for rare diseases and delivered. It was a well-articulated success story.


Jazz Pharmaceuticals' EU Launch of Sunosi (solriamfetol) - by Jazz Pharmaceuticals
with support from GCI Health, Ashley Medical Communications, Salt and HRW

Highly commended


ZOLGENSMA® UK Media Launch - by Novartis Gene Therapies
with support from Havas Life Medicom

Key dates

Entry deadline 26 August 2022
Extended entry deadline 2 September 2022*
*additional fee applies
Judging Day 6 October 2022
Company/Team of the Year Interviews 21 October 2022
PMEA Event 23 November 2022