We were appointed by Vicore, a Swedish pharmaceutical company focusing on rare diseases, to help them build a presence with both investor and health communities. Collaborating closely with the medical and marketing teams at Vicore, we developed their brand positioning, visual collateral, and language lexicon to reflect their personality and give them a firm foundation for the communication of their ambitious plans.
Our challenge was to grow their audience and profile across social channels, and to gain coverage based on funding they had received from LifeArc. We worked closely with our MISSION Group partners, April Six, to audit the current environment and competitor approaches, and then landscaped the audience we wanted to target.
Vicore, with funding from LifeArc, was set to commence phase 2 clinical trials testing a developmental drug candidate in 100 hospitalised COVID-19 patients. Researchers at Vicore found that one of their candidate drugs, VP01 (Compound 21 or C21), currently also in development for the treatment of pulmonary fibrosis, could reduce the severity of COVID-19 disease.
The randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled ATTRACT study (Angiotensin II Type Two Receptor Agonist in COVID-19 Trial) recruited 106 hospitalized patients with a confirmed diagnosis of COVID-19 infection and signs of acute respiratory infection, but not requiring mechanical ventilation. The patients were randomized to receive oral treatment with C21 (100 mg b.i.d., n=51) or placebo (n=56) for seven days in addition to standard of care, with a follow-up after 7‒10 days. “The complete analysis confirms the initial observation that C21 has a good safety profile, restores lung function and reduces the need for oxygen supplementation in these critically ill COVID-19 patients”, said Carl-Johan Dalsgaard, CEO of Vicore Pharma.
After reviewing client plans and all key milestones, we created a social media action plan covering audience, content development, and social monitoring. April Six audited media to define the publications we needed to target and proactively engaged the identified titles with the news of the LifeArc funding, focusing on the current challenge that COVID-19 was presenting in terms of respiratory symptoms. April Six pushed the press release announcing the ATTRACT trial (and LifeArc funding) to trade and national media targets, and we supported with specialist assets such as video content and social media engagement.
The press release we distributed resulted in positive press from a number of sources, from national media news stories to interviews and opinion articles in key trade titles, which had a combined reach of more than 1 million people. Coverage highlights included Pharmaceutical Technology, The Times, Technology Networks, Select Science, Technology Networks and Pharma Times.
April Six followed up initial phase 2 trial results with a second press release, which delivered more than 10 hits across US/UK media, including a feature from the CMO in Pharma Times.
With a focus on Twitter, LinkedIn and blogs we implemented a six-month social media campaign to create an ongoing and consistent presence with relevant community content. We targeted engagement with investor and patient groups and over a period of 10 months we saw an increase of 3.8M impressions and an almost 25% increase in impressions delivered and an increase of 880 unique global authors (an increase of over 25%).
According to Nina Carlén, Chief Administrative Officer of Vicore Pharma, ”the collaboration with Solaris Health and April Six has worked well and we are very pleased with both their scientific and comms expertise which makes everything so much easier for us. It has been a challenge to reach through the buzz from other ongoing COVID-19-related activities such as the vaccine development during the autumn, but we think we have managed well with some high-quality coverage in established magazines and positive feed-back from the different communities.”