Helping Gene Therapy Company in Race for HIV Cure

Helping Gene Therapy Company in Race for HIV Cure 

Ad Value Equivalency (AVE) from Media Coverage: $2.4+ million

  • Media Hits: 90+ (January 2022 – January 2024)
  • Ad Value: $2,469,641.22 (AVE = How much a media placement would have cost if it was purchased in the form of an advertisement.)
  • Reach: 366,484,646 people (Number of potential customers who have seen or heard about the brand.)

Client Overview

American Gene Technologies® (AGT™) founder and CEO Jeff Galvin launched the company as a startup in 2008. Galvin had been retired from a career in Silicon Valley as a software entrepreneur and angel investor, when a 2007 meeting with acclaimed National Institutes of Health researcher Roscoe Brady, MD, PhD, showed him the power of lentivirus vectors to edit genes. That revelation drove him to form AGT to pursue potential gene therapy cures for diseases like HIV, PKU and certain cancers.

On The Marc Media was integral to AGT’s marketing and PR efforts. After a successful Phase I human trial of AGT103-T (the company’s gene therapy for HIV), On The Marc Media helped AGT prepare for a corporate transformation that may result in a public company, to be called Addimmune™, which would focus on further developing the HIV gene therapy program, while AGT would work on gene therapies for other diseases.


The company needed comprehensive planning and execution of:

  • Branding & messaging
  • Website design
  • Public relations
  • Content marketing
  • Search engine optimization
  • Social media
  • Video series & podcast called The Cure Chronicles
  • Explainer videos on a variety of topics
  • Internal marketing team development and leadership
  • Public & private sector partnerships and collaborations

In particular, one of our recurring challenges involved the need to translate highly technical and scientific information into content tailored to specific audiences. AGT sought to engage with a variety of stakeholders, from HIV activists to investors to scientists to government regulators to the general public.

Because gene therapy is both new to many people and controversial to some, we had to help AGT be both proactive in educating audiences as well as reactive in addressing misinformation, misconceptions and questions that arose especially in social media and online forums.


We designed and executed a sustained, comprehensive, integrated, multimedia communications strategy to achieve the companies’ goals.

  • Branding & Messaging: On The Marc Media did extensive work for both companies to clarify and build out their branding and messaging.
    • For AGT, this included: staff bios, message house, FAQs, knowledge base, elevator pitches, mission statement, vision statement, values statement, key messages, detractor messaging, stakeholder messaging, website copy, fact sheets, one-pager clinical trial messaging, and PowerPoints.
    • For Addimmune, this included: staff bios, message house, FAQs, key messages, website copy, knowledge base, PowerPoints, elevator pitches, mission statement, vision statement, values statement, and apparel design & printing.
  • High-Value Earned Media:  We pitched and secured media coverage in targeted outlets, resulting in more than 90 media hits from January 2022 – January 2024.
    • Contributor Articles: We positioned CEO Jeff Galvin not only as a thought leader in the pursuit of a cure for HIV and other diseases, but also as a biotech business leader in Maryland and beyond. We successfully wrote and placed bylined features for him in targeted publications.
    • Awards & Recognition: Researched and submitted CEO Jeff Galvin and AGT itself for prestigious awards. These awards garnered additional media attention for Galvin and for AGT.
      • AGT was awarded the 2023 Gold Globee® Disruptor Award.
      • Galvin received the Life Sciences Voice Top Industry Leaders Award, recognizing the most dynamic leaders in the life sciences industry.
      • AGT won the Biobuzz Media Award for The Cure Chronicles video series.
      • AGT won NABOE World Changing Business Award.
      • AGT was recognized in the 2023 issue of Bethesda Magazine’s Best Places to Work Award for having the happiest employees in the Bethesda area according to research by Best Companies Group.
    • Strategy & Content Planning: On The Marc Media built a detailed editorial calendar to identify and track media outreach and content creation.
      • We collaborated closely with the companies’ in-house subject matter experts, using coaching and editing to tailor content creation to specific audiences.
      • We guided messaging development, external relations and ongoing marketing and PR strategy.
      • We provided counsel and messaging guidance during the corporate transformation process.
    • The Cure Chronicles Video Series:
  • On The Marc Media created, branded, and launched The Cure Chronicles video series featuring engaging conversations with people living with HIV, advocates, medical experts, policymakers, and others striving toward the common goal of ending HIV.
    • We spearheaded the seamless execution of 23 episodes of The Cure Chronicles video series by meticulously managing the logistics of guest scheduling, scriptwriting, and filming, followed by rigorous post-production editing, and strategically deployed promotion efforts to ensure maximum visibility and impact in the target audience. 
  • Website Development: We did extensive work on both the AGT and Addimmune websites.
    • For AGT: Redesigned and optimized the site, wrote web copy and FAQs, and updated the knowledge base. As a result of our work, AGT had a 14.5% increase in website views in 2022 compared to 2021, and a projected 18% increase in 2023 compared to the 2021 baseline.
    • For Addimmune: We designed mockups, wrote web copy, and managed the new website build.
  • Search Engine Optimization: We dramatically raised search engine rankings for targeted keywords for AGT and Adimmune.
    • Keywords “HIV Cure 2023”: Achieved Google page 1 for these keywords. This term got 20,000 searches in the last 90 days (6,500+ per month) worldwide. The top three countries for this search were the U.S., India, and South Africa.
    • Keywords “HIV Cure News”: Got AGT on Page 1, with 31,000 searches in the last 90 days (10,300+ per month). Since Addimmune is so new, it is currently appearing on page 3 or 4 (fluctuates) of search results for this phrase.
    • Keywords “Why Isn’t HIV Cured?”: AGT is on page 1, right behind the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the Mayo Clinic.
    • Keywords “HIV Cure 2025”: Got the AGT blog post “4 Global Trends That Will Affect HIV Cure Research in 2025” to the #1 spot on page 1, with 10,000 searches in the last 90 days (3,300+ per month), plus 3,200+ clicks and 25,116 impressions in the past 6 months directly to the AGT page.
    • Keywords “HIV Cure”: AGT is top of page 2, and global volume is 84,000 per month (U.S. and India 18,000 searches per month each).
    • Keywords “Will Cancer Be Cured By 2025?”: Got AGT to bottom of page 1 right after Mayo Clinic and NIH.
  • Social Media Awareness: 
    • For AGT: Assisted AGT’s internal social media staff by drafting social media content and graphics. Helped drive impressions up by 60.3% in 2022 and 8.83% in 2023, interactions up by 24.8% in 2022 and 41.8% in 2023, clicks up 168.2% in 2022 and 463.7% in 2023, and audience growth up by 24.5% in 2022 and 2.3% in 2023.
    • For Addimmune: Created all social channels (including Facebook, Twitter/X, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok).
  • Video Production: Produced and edited explainer videos for investors and other audiences, in addition to an introductory video for the AGT website.
  • Collateral Materials: 
    • For AGT: Developed strategic messaging, fact sheets, news releases, FAQs, emails, letters, signs, and other content.
    • For Addimmune: Created the entire Addimmune brand, including logo, color palette, brand style guide, and marketing collateral.
  • Event Marketing: Planned and coordinated a successful launch party at which plans for Addimmune were unveiled, including coordinating closely with Montgomery County Council members on a resolution proclaiming the county “DNA Valley” — a name Galvin helped coin and amplify into more common usage to spread awareness of the region’s biotech leadership.

Public Relations Approach

On The Marc Media tailored earned-media outreach to audience-specific outlets, which each viewed the HIV epidemic through a different lens: scientific, medical, social, policy, business, personal and more.

We pitched stories leading up to, through and following the Phase I clinical trial of AGT103-T. We spotlighted the leadership team, particularly CEO Jeff Galvin. We teased upcoming developments. And we trumpeted each success and achievement, which helped the company balance its legal mandates with its desire to instill realistic hope in people living with HIV.


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