Astellas is revving up its efforts to transform the menopause drug Veozah into a standout product, and they’ve just hit the accelerator with a compelling TV advertisement. This captivating ad, accompanied by the soothing strumming of an acoustic guitar, unfolds in an elevator shaft. The camera zooms in on a grill, revealing an uncomfortable gray-haired Black woman experiencing profuse sweating, surrounded by fellow passengers. In bold letters on the screen, the female voice-over declares, “this is a hot flash.”
The scene transitions to a middle-aged white woman emerging from her bed, pulling her hair back, and seeking relief in front of a fan. Again, the voice-over guides us, labeling this moment as another “hot flash.” As the music shifts and a harmonious vocal enters the scene, we are introduced to the first glimpse of what Astellas calls a “not flash.” Two women, beaming with joy and comfort, capture a selfie at a sunlit marina.
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This pivotal moment marks Astellas’ endeavor to position Veozah as the solution to transform hot flashes into “not flashes.” The subsequent scene features a contented woman, donning a stylish black leather jacket, strolling through a hallway and gracefully wrapping herself in a scarf. The voice-over exclaims, “there’s big news for women going through menopause.”
This groundbreaking news is none other than Veozah, a prescription drug approved for addressing moderate to severe vasomotor symptoms—a medical term encompassing hot flashes and night sweats. The ad underscores that Veozah is hormone-free, both through the voice-over and on-screen text. The latter part of the ad showcases a series of women experiencing uninterrupted sleep, teaching, working, and embracing life without the intrusion of hot flashes.
The stakes are high for Astellas in this campaign. The drug manufacturer acquired Veozah in its 2017 takeover of Ogeda, an investment initially amounting to 500 million euros ($550 million) with the possibility of an additional 300 million euros in milestones. Astellas further committed 13.1 billion Japanese yen ($88 million) to secure a priority review voucher (PRV), despite the FDA’s subsequent request for an extra three months to complete its review.
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Astellas’ decision to utilize the PRV underscores their conviction that Veozah is a pivotal asset poised to contribute significantly to its sales, potentially adding $8.9 billion by 2025. This move is also driven by the presence of Bayer, a formidable competitor on the horizon. Bayer entered the scene by acquiring KaNDy Therapeutics for an upfront payment of $425 million, a potential rival to Veozah. Notably, three phase 3 trials of Bayer’s contender are slated to conclude by January, suggesting that Astellas may enjoy a fleeting first-mover advantage in this highly competitive landscape.