Insmed education effort targets Congress, public

RICHMOND, VA: Insmed, a developer of follow-on biologics (FOBs) and biopharmaceuticals, has launched a broad education campaign in its hopes to raise awareness of the importance of establishing a regulatory pathway in the US for FOBs.

RICHMOND, VA: Insmed, a developer of follow-on biologics (FOBs) and biopharmaceuticals, has launched a broad education campaign in its hopes to raise awareness of the importance of establishing a regulatory pathway in the US for FOBs.

While a regulatory system for approving FOBs (a term to describe copies of new biopharmaceutical products) was established in Europe in 2006, the US has yet to follow suit. The company's aim, noted Steve Glover, president of Insmed Therapeutic Proteins, is to encourage Congress to address the need and, in the process, enhance patient access to and lower costs for expensive biotech drugs.

The launch of the campaign follows CEO Geoffrey Allan's 2007 testimony before Congress on the matter.

"The key issue that Congress [needs to] understand [is] the importance of this program and how it evolves into creating more innovation in the biotech industry," added Glover. "But we also need to communicate to a broad range of audiences."

The campaign is unique in that Gibraltar Associates, the firm supporting Insmed on the effort, has encouraged the company to bypass the traditional media outreach effort and run its public affairs campaign through an interactive advocacy program that implements user-generated content and social networking.

"This issue is so complex that it's very difficult to tell the story through traditional media channels," said Eric Bovim, president of Gibraltar.

Central to the effort will be a YouTube channel initially featuring a lead Insmed scientist urging users to produce their own videos asking Congress to act on the issue. Insmed hopes the channel will expand into a larger grassroots effort online, with user-generated content fueling the drive.

To supplement the online approach, Insmed has also commissioned an economic study on the savings an FOB market would provide to patients and healthcare providers.

Gibraltar will also assist Insmed with its stakeholder outreach, including events with patients, healthcare providers, and policy groups. The company has also enhanced its Web site, providing visitors with new resources on FOB and updates on its efforts.

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