Genes Silenced. Voices Heard. Forging a New Era of RNAi Therapeutics

by akt health communications for Alnylam

Summary of work

In July 2018 Alnylam faced a major challenge. Its first-ever RNA interference (RNAi) medicine was about to launch across the EU. Yet neither RNAi nor the initial diseases it was being used to treat were familiar beyond a tiny scientific audience and many experts were noting that health services would likely not deem such a medicine ‘value for money’.

By stripping away the jargon and making RNAi a story that everyone could relate to, the agency achieved outstanding media results. Equally as important was the truly integrated approach the team took; ensuring that the right noise was made at the right time to complement other teams striving to deliver access for patients in need.

From almost nobody having heard about gene silencing, the team delivered media results that led to it being highlighted as one of the ‘most significant medical breakthroughs of 2019’ by the BBC. The coverage achieved has had a profound impact that will support this technology for years to come.

Judges’ comments

The campaign from akt and Alynylam really hit the nail on the head with the insights and understanding of the external environment. It had a clear strategy, smartly focusing on the science and had a good journalist engagement strategy.