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Breast cancer marketing ASCO 2011

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Where has the year gone? Here comes summer! (07/07/11)
The year is flying by, we are into July, and already thinking ahead to the end of 2011 and beyond. Since I last wrote, the St Gallen Breast Cancer meeting and ASCO have taken place, and my registration is booked for the December San Antonio breast cancer meeting.

From a practice-changing perspective, the breast cancer world still awaits the next big therapy breakthrough, although recent new data and product launches will challenge current thinking and provide additional treatment options. At the recent ASCO meeting, possibly the biggest news from a breast cancer perspective was that relating to the use of exemestane in the breast cancer prevention setting – in a placebo controlled trial (MAP 3), where postmenopausal women at high risk of breast cancer were randomised to either 5 years of exemestane or placebo, at a median follow-up of 35 months, exemestane reduced the incidence of invasive breast cancer by 65%. These data are the first to be reported for an aromatase inhibitor in the prevention setting, and it will be of interest to see whether they lead to a submission for an expanded licence for exemestane. In the metastatic disease setting, on the back of data presented at San Antonio 2010, eribulin has been licenced for patients whose previous treatments should have included an anthracycline and taxane. Eribulin, a non-taxane microtubule inhibitor, was approved on the back of impressive data, showing a significant survival benefit vs treatment-of-physicians choice, with a median survival of 13.1 vs 10.6 months (HR 0.809, p=0.041). Also in the metastatic setting and reported just a few days ago, the first read-out from the BOLERO 2 trial reported that the combination of everolimus plus exemestane was superior to exemestane alone (in terms of progression-free survival) in postmenopausal breast cancer patients with ER+/HER2- tumours whose disease was resistant to previous aromatase inhibitors. With regulatory filings planned by the end of 2011, we may see everolimus in combination with exemestane available as a new treatment option in the not too distant future.

2011 has started off very well for Pivotal 4pharma. Early in the year we were commissioned on a project that involved a detailed market assessment of the breast cancer chemotherapy and targeted therapy market, including research into current treatment practices for triple negative breast cancer (TNBC). In addition to giving us experience of working with a new client, this provided an excellent opportunity to broaden the knowledge base of Pivotal 4pharma into the treatment of hormone-resistant (de-novo or acquired) breast cancer. This project is now complete and we welcome other opportunities to demonstrate our expertise across the breast cancer area. Other projects during 2011 include providing disease area and product expertise to medical education agencies pitching for new business opportunities and medical information Q and A documents. Also, very excitingly we have had the opportunity to branch out into the prostate cancer area, where we have been involved in running a messaging workshop. Switching disease areas has given us the confidence that the wealth of expertise that Pivotal has in the breast cancer area is transferable to other tumour types.

From the outset it was always the intention that Pivotal 4pharma would offer services across the medical-marketing mix, and much of our work has been more technically orientated utilising my medical and publication writing experience. This still remains the intention, and in order to ensure that Pivotal 4pharma stays abreast of the changing legislation and governance related to medical publications, I have recently become a member of the International Society for Medical Publication Professionals (ISMPP) and am currently swotting up for the Certified Medical Publication Professional examination. And I thought I was well past doing exams?!

As we approach the vacation season, I hope that you all enjoy that well earned break. If you need any support, or want to kick-off any new projects before you go away, you may wish to discuss potential projects with us. As a reminder of the types of services we offer, below are listed some of the projects and initiatives that have been delivered since Pivotal 4pharma was launched:

Supporting med-ed agencies in pitch development for new breast cancer business

Strategic guidance to major pharma on the design of a phase III breast cancer trial•

Detail aid and objection handler development for a device designed to reduce chemotherapy-induced hair-loss (including gaining KOL endorsement)

Copy and messaging development for exhibition stands

Medical information Q and A development

On behalf of a KOL, led the project team delivering a breast cancer treatment think-tank, including faculty selection and programme development.

Detailed market analysis of the chemotherapy breast cancer market, with a focus on triple-negative breast cancer

Running of a messaging workshop

In addition to the above, I have a wealth of experience in project leadership, scenario planning and stakeholder management from my time in the Pharma Industry. A full list of the services we offer are detailed on other areas of this website.

Have a great summer!
Tim Sheldon. July 2011
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Pivotal 4pharma provides strategic and tactical medical communications and marketing expertise.