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The Cello Health Award for Launch Excellence

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Astellas EMEA with support from VCCP Health

Summary of work

With little innovation in the last 10 years, prostate cancer patients and physicians were crying out for novel treatments to improve survival in late-stage disease. Xtandi, a highly effective and well-tolerated therapy, fulfilled this unmet need and was an exciting new option. However, Janssen’s abiraterone achieved marketing approval two years earlier and claimed the much sort-after ‘first-to-market’ opportunity. With similar clinical research results the challenge was on to identify a meaningful difference from which to establish the Xtandi brand. 

Extensive research uncovered the key difference was the mechanism of action. However, if an emotional proposition was to be considered clinicians needed to be re-educated about the disease mechanism, then given an emotional reason to appreciate why Xtandi was the better choice vs abiraterone. 

A two-streamed strategic approach was devised to tackle ingrained physician opinions and to prepare Xtandi’s launch. Both strategies were developed into consistently executed campaigns across a breadth of carefully selected channels, and success ensued. Sales far out-stretched expectations, proving XTANDI to be a strong brand and a fierce contender for the treatment of late-stage prostate cancer.

Judges comments

This is an outstanding campaign building on clinician insights that was so well executed, with good results. We loved the excellent patient engagement materials.


EYLEA®: Making time for what matters - Bayer with support from Langland and Liberation Communications

Highly commended

Betmiga: A fresh start in OAB - Astellas Pharma UK with support from PAN


Xtandi - Astellas EMEA with support from VCCP Health

Elvanse Launch - Shire with support from Uptake Strategies

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