As Moderna preps a marketing strategy for its COVID-19 vaccine—in fact, its only commercial product—it is hiring its first-ever chief brand officer. Kate Cronin joins this month from Ogilvy Health, where she was global CEO.
While Moderna is running at full speed with vaccine sales, manufacturing and distribution, its emergency use authorization limits its marketing and brand efforts. Moderna submitted for full approval June 1, but the FDA has not indicated how quickly it will act.
Moderna CEO Stéphane Bancel said in the hiring announcement that he looks forward to working with Cronin “to amplify Moderna’s story and the promise of mRNA science for patients.”
One step already recently cinched up is the vaccine’s brand name Spikevax, now approved in Europe.
Cronin talked to Fierce Pharma last fall about vaccines and the pandemic in an interview after she was named global CEO at Ogilvy. She pointed to the reputation boost and potential opportunities pharma companies gained from their quick response to the pandemic by developing vaccines and treatments. However, she added, they can’t simply rest on innovation laurels.
“Pharmaceutical companies recognize they have to justify their societal impact and that it’s important for customers—patients and HCPs—to understand what they stand for,” she said. “The word innovation alone doesn’t differentiate one pharma company from another; it needs to be deeper than that.”
She’ll likely be put to the test on that front at Moderna. The small biotech is running largely on its COVID-19 vaccine innovation for now, competing with global behemoths like Pfizer and Johnson & Johnson with well-established marketing, sales and branding resources.
One advantage Moderna has as a new brand to consumers is that it comes without Pfizer’s and J&J’s history—and, sometimes, baggage from issues like past lawsuits or drug pricing.
In the fall interview, Cronin told a story about Thanksgiving dinners where, before the COVID-19 pandemic, her older relatives who knew she worked in the pharma business would ask, “Why is this drug so expensive and what are you going to do about it, Kate?”
She joked that at the upcoming Thanksgiving she anticipated they’d be asking “When are the vaccines going to become available, and would you take this one or that one?”
At least this Thanksgiving, she’ll know how to answer that last question.
by Beth Snyder Bulik
The Food and Drug Administration’s top scientist Namandjé Bumpus will assume the role of principal deputy commissioner when longtime agency leader Janet Woodcock retires from that role in early 2024, according to an announcement Thursday.
US biopharma AbbVie has agreed to acquire ImmunoGen in a deal which values the company at about $10.1 billion and gives AbbVie access to flagship cancer therapy Elahere (mirvetuximab soravtansine-gynx), a first-in-class antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) approved for platinum-resistant ovarian cancer (PROC), as well as a pipeline of promising next-generation ADCs.
EUROAPI today announced the appointment of David Seignolle as Chief Operating Officer, succeeding Eric Berger, and Marion Santin as Chief Legal, Compliance, and IP Officer, both joining the company’s Executive Committee. In his new role, David Seignolle will lead the transformation of the Industrial Operations organization.