SAN FRANCISCO: The Loomis Group has been tapped to help clinical trial recruitment for an unnamed drug that is being tested as a diabetes preventative.
Sweden-based Nordic Management of Clinical Trials has retained the agency on behalf of the company developing the drug.
The agency is charged with recruiting 200,000 patients into 45 to 50 test sites in three states - California, Texas, and Louisiana. It plans to use grassroots and community relations efforts to target African-American and Latino patients, who have a higher incidence of the disease, as well as those in the general population.
Jennifer Joelson, VP of brand integration at Loomis, noted that research ahead of the recruitment effort would inform the tactics used during the campaign.
"We wanted to delve into the psycho-demographics about how each of these groups could be approached," she said.
Joelson noted that the agency has surveyed 50 people in each of the three population segments to test messages and determine the best way to reach them.
Its research found, for instance, a deep skepticism among African Americans about clinical trials because of the infamous Tuskegee syphilis study, where black men enrolled in the study were unknowingly denied treatment so that doctors could study the disease during autopsy.
Christian Bateman, the agency's VP of PR, noted that physicians would reach out to community and religious organizations in order to address those concerns.
Since the drug is a preventative product, the PR team will also help potential patients recognize their own personal risk factors - like a sedentary lifestyle and obesity - that could lead to diabetes.
"We've had a lot of challenges in educating the population," said Tanya Rodante, SVP of medical and life sciences, adding that most people don't take those risk factors seriously. "We did find a lot of misinformation about diabetes in general."
The agency is also doing media relations, b-rolls, and RMTs in English and Spanish. The campaign will also address women, who typically make the healthcare decisions for their families.