Creating an immersive product launch: Ferring’s first-to-market microbiota-based live biotherapeutic

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Creating an immersive product launch: Ferring’s first-to-market microbiota-based live biotherapeutic

By Ellen Amos, Ferring Pharmaceuticals

In 2022, Ferring launched its first-to-market, FDA-approved microbiota-based live biotherapeutic, Rebyota. Rebyota is the first and only single-dose, microbiota-based live biotherapeutic approved to prevent recurrence of C. difficile infection starting at first recurrence.

Given the need for Rebyota in the market, our launch training strategy focused on high-engagement learning through a unique learning journey that empowered our commercial teams to appropriately educate providers on the product features, benefits, and applications. We wanted all of our 150+ key stakeholders from commercial learning & development (CL&D), marketing, sales leadership, and patient/market access to have the knowledge and tools to bring Rebyota to market successfully.

Immersion to achieve launch excellence

We developed learning content to be in an easy-to-digest, condensed format to leverage adult learning principles and enhance our reps’ knowledge retention and recall in the field. The immersive program included the following.

  1. Clear, concise, and phased microlearning content that all commercial stakeholders could easily learn and retain. Content was delivered through an immersive experience via a learning platform built specifically for the lifesciences industry to ensure effective messaging and compliant selling. We accomplished this by organizing a large amount of impactful content and delivering it in phases to maximize effectiveness.
  2. A program titled “The Journey of Care” linked the nature of the content to the disease state. This theme wove together the education around the impact of the gut microbiome through a microlearning journey that gradually shifted to brand specific content. This gradual introduction of branded messaging allowed us to emphasize the impact of Rebyota by creating a clinical context for its need and benefit. The theme wove together learning about the gut microbiome through a microlearning journey that gradually shifted to brand-specific content. This helped drive understanding of the importance and impact of Rebyota by creating a clinical context for its need and benefit.
  3. An integrated learning platform that supported the entire product launch lifecycle from pre-work to live-event training, to post-event pull-through, including the ability to meet the needs of our field teams and be accessible while on the go. This encompassed pre-launch home study eLearning modules and completion tracking; live launch event registration, gamification, and certification; and post-event learning reinforcement.
  4. Real-time monitoring to ensure a data-driven learning experience. The learning platform not only had to support educating and engaging learners, it also had to provide CL&D and departmental leadership with insight into critical product launch success metrics. CL&D, specifically, wanted to be able to evaluate the effectiveness of the launch training, making data insight a crucial platform capability.
  5. A design that was agile and flexible to accommodate the evolving scientific lexicon. In a product launch you constantly receive new market insights; having a learning curriculum that allows for updates and edits, along with a platform that could support version control, was crucial to our launch.

The combination of like-minded thinking

Together with partners Axiom and ACTO, Ferring developed an immersive product launch learning experience that involved a strategic curriculum from Axiom and a user-friendly and engaging training/learning/event platform.

The pre-launch content focused on disease state, unmet needs, competition, and clinical data, while weaving the patient journey throughout, all of which was delivered within a microlearning approach. This combination allowed learners to digest bite-sized training content at their convenience, making it easy to fit the training around their schedule and at their own pace. Since the platform was built for mobile use, field reps could easily access learning in their personal workflow.

To support different learning preferences and to keep learners engaged, ACTO and Axiom crafted and blended curriculum and content that included videos, podcasts, infographics, and short eLearning modules to help learners understand the complexities of the gut microbiome and its impact on recurrent C. difficile infection.

Allowing our field teams to access the home study learning content through their phones, tablets, and computers gave field reps flexibility, which increased speed to competence and impact. The combination of a modular curriculum of diverse content delivered via a unified platform for learning, communication, and coaching, allowed us to track engagement, curriculum completion, and knowledge gaps ahead of the live product launch event.

The live launch event was hosted on the ACTO platform and included event registration, personalized agendas, gamification, and real-time leaderboards. To ensure knowledge retention and post-event pull-through, virtual and live field coaching also took place on the ACTO platform. Training modules, as well as “Key Takeaways” for quick review were easily accessible on the platform, for “anywhere-anytime” reference.

Thanks to decisions made at the beginning of the process, and having the right partners, we were able to anticipate and manage “fire-drill” moments. For instance, we identified a need while at the launch meeting that required the development and programming of assessment questions for a live online competition that took effort from all parties to execute. This involved a lot of last-minute effort from all parties, but we pulled it off!

The partnership between Ferring, Axiom, and ACTO achieved the following:

  • Successfully raised the bar for Ferring’s launch plan for Rebyota and introduced new methods of training that bridged the gap between CL&D, marketing, brand strategy, and sales.
  • Set up Ferring for future success in terms of learning sustainability, coaching, and future launches, as well as making training more strategic and integrated with other launch efforts.
  • Increased efficiency, engagement, and content continuity for the field team.

The comprehensive training program for this launch assisted all commercial learners in understanding the complexities of the gut microbiome and the impact of Rebyota. This launch strategy saw the highest completion rates in Ferring history (see Table 1), which is allowing us to consider the partnership for company-wide adoption for future launches. 

Learning set

Average progress (%)

Clinical considerations


Dysbiosis and C. difficle infection


Product training


REBYOTA Launch Meeting Phase 1


REBYOTA Launch Meeting Phase 2


REBYOTA Launch Meeting Phase 3




Table 1. Completion data provided by ACTO (two weeks post-launch) – A 99.6% completion rate across all learning sets

Since the formal launch in January 2023, we learned the following:

  1. Set expectations. Everyone has thoughts on what microlearning means; gaining alignment between stakeholders and setting expectations up front helps to mitigate potential confusion.
  2. Planning first; content second. Creating a solid blueprint for learning before developing content makes all subsequent steps run smoother.
  3. You need the right trees to create the proper forest. While individual asset sizes are small, the overall effort to design and create a seamless microlearning journey for learners requires careful strategy and attention to detail.
  4. Find partners who share your vision. Ferring’s partners – Axiom and ACTO – worked alongside each other and collaborated and communicated well, which allowed us to align our internal visions early on and keep learners top of mind.
  5. Tell the story one chapter at a time … blogs rather than novels. Offering content in varied and user-friendly formats from one centralized platform encourages learning that becomes habit forming and meets the learners where and how they like to learn.
  6. Microlearning is the future of CL&D in life sciences. We found this new approach as a way to keep learners engaged, from new employees to seasoned reps. With this approach, learning becomes embedded in the culture and is not just a one-off tactic. This is especially important as the science continues to be updated.


Training can be the strategic bridge that fills a gap between marketing strategy and field execution of a product launch. Ferring’s focus on collaboration, microlearning, and an innovative approach to learning delivery allowed us to keep the learners in mind and achieve training success, as well as long-term performance and launch excellence.

With the right tools and approach, training becomes less of a deliverable checkbox exercise and more of a strategic imperative to ensure field rep competence and confidence, and ultimately, business impact.

Ellen Amos, Ferring Pharmaceuticals Ellen Amos is the commercial training lead for the microbiome and uro-oncology brands at Ferring Pharmaceuticals. A commercial learning & development (CL&D) expert, Amos also has extensive sales, sales leadership, brand management, and product launch experience.