Targeted Campaign Helped Eye Pharma Firm Alimera Grow Enough To Invest In New Product


Last month, Alimera Sciences, a pharma company specializing in conditions affecting the back of the eye, announced a $150 million acquisition of U.S. commercial rights to Yutiq, an Eyepoint Pharmaceuticals product that treats chronic non-infectious uveitis (eye inflammation).

For nearly a decade, Alimera’s main drug has been Iluvien, which treats DME (diabetic macular edema, or excess fluid in the retina). A recent Iluvien awareness campaign helped make the Yutiq deal happen, relates Shelly Hoffman, executive vice president and partner at Marbury Creative Group.

“The success of Iluvien as the brand and Alimera as a company led them to a point where they were able to invest in new products,” Hoffman explains to Marketing Daily.

During the nine months when the campaign was active, Iluvien’s revenues rose 18% to $40.1 million.



The campaign was targeted to patients, potential patients and retinal healthcare providers, with the consumer aspect zeroing in on “people with diabetes that are experiencing problems with their sight. or have been diagnosed and are currently being treated for diabetic macular edema,’ Bill Garner, Alimera’s executive director of marketing, tells Marketing Daily.

“We then focused our efforts on markets where we had an established base of [healthcare provider] product users who were willing and able to treat these patients,” Garner adds.

Three :60 commercials focused on Iluvien’s ability to provide “up to 36 months of continuous treatment with one injection.”

Each spot began with the question, “Facing diabetic macular endema?” Then, as scenes played illustrating each point, they told viewers in turn that they could, for example, “see less trips to the doctor and see more travel adventures,” or see less injections and see more enjoyable moments.”

In addition to advanced TV, Hoffman says the campaign used social media, digital display and interstitials in apps like blood-glucose trackers and ones containing diabetic recipes -- all designed “to get the message in front of people in a different way than other pharma companies.”

Behavioral targeting was directed at such categories as diabetics and heavy purchasers of sugar-free products and insulin, Hoffman says, with custom segments identified by layering on prescription information through Crossix and Swoop data sources.

“While Alimera had comprehensive research and patient cast studies proving Iluvien’s durability for treatment, the company felt that many patients were unaware of the treatment option, and that it was not even discussed by their healthcare providers,” Hoffman recalls.

The full campaign generated more than 60 million impressions, Marbury now reports, with a 270% increase in new users (defined by Hoffman as the number of potential patients who visited Iluvien’s website), and over 4,000 website conversions (users who “showed engagement” on the website such as downloading questions to ask doctors, finding an Iluvien doctor via an onsite button, watching a video, or downloading resources).

“Awareness was our main metric,” Garner says. “Since the campaign was targeted, we could also look at sales activity as an indicator of success. Both of those measures showed very positive results.”

Alimera now plans “to take the success of our patient efforts for Iluvien and find ways we can make them work for Yutiq,” he says.

“Our first goal will be to look at how Yutiq has been marketed to date and make sure that we keep everything we can from what has been working,” Garner continues, “and see if it could work for Iluvien as well. We will then integrate Yutiq into all our current marketing channels and programs.”

“These two products have tremendous overlap in the providers that we are targeting,” he notes. “However, their patient populations are very different.”

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