How do you roll out a sequel to the most successful TV infomercial-marketed home fitness program of all time? Surprisingly, not with a TV infomercial.

Santa Monica’s Beachbody LLC in a couple of weeks will start shipping the first units of P90X2, the follow-up to celebrity trainer Tony Horton’s wildly successful P90X program that has been on the market since 2003. But late-night insomniacs likely won’t see the new product’s first TV infomercial until close to next Christmas – after the program has been on the street for nearly a year.

Orders for the product – which comes in three versions, ranging in price from about $120 to nearly $300 – have been generated entirely from an extensive e-mail and Internet preorder campaign to existing Beachbody customers that promises delivery by Christmas. The campaign ended Nov. 30, and later orders will ship early next year.

The website does include a short video featuring the still-chiseled 53-year-old Horton and his buddies going through the new moves to pounding rock music in a studio tricked out like a back-alley warehouse gym. But Beachbody co-founder and President Jon Congdon expects the early customers will generate hours of P90X2 testimonials that the company can include in a 30-minute infomercial to air late next year. This is the first time the company has launched a major product without a simultaneous infomercial.

“The P90X infomercial is still doing extremely well, and P90X2 is a very different program for us, so we are going to take our time,” Congdon said.

P90X has generated more than $400 million in revenue over its lifetime, according to the company, and even after several years on the market, it still accounted for roughly half of Beachbody’s $430 million in sales last year.

P90X was originally targeted at relatively fit exercisers who wanted to take their fitness to near-elite levels. The sequel is designed to be even more challenging, employing cutting-edge training techniques developed by Dr. Marcus Elliott, an internationally known Harvard-trained physician specializing in development of elite athletes.

The company will continue to steer customers to the original program if it would be more appropriate.

“We have to be careful,” Congdon said. “We don’t want people leap-frogging to P90X2, when it really would be better for them to at least start with P90X, or one of our less intensive programs, first.”

Auerbach’s New Cat

Biotech watchers wondering what Cougar Biotechnology founder Alan H. Auerbach has been doing since he sold his last cancer drug company to Johnson & Johnson for nearly a billion dollars in 2009 found out last month.

Auerbach’s latest West L.A. cancer treatment venture, Puma Biotechnology, completed the last stage of a $60 million private financing and licensed technology from Pfizer Inc. that it plans to shepherd through the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval process.

Proceeds from the financing will be used primarily to fund clinical development of experimental breast cancer treatment, oral neratinib. The drug was licensed from Pfizer, which was looking to cut costs by trimming its research and development program.

Puma’s strategy is to license technologies that have been tested in clinical trials. That provides additional security to investors of a drug’s potential usefulness and safety, before they commit capital to the drug’s development. Both oral neratinib and an injectable version have multiple midstage clinical trials under way or soon to launch.

It’s a slightly different approach than Auerbach, a former biotech senior research analyst at Wells Fargo Securities, took when he formed Cougar in 2003. Cougar licensed its experimental drugs earlier in the testing process.

“I’m an entrepreneur, so I wanted to find an exciting cancer drug, buy the rights and then develop it,” he said. “I probably spent a good 18 months looking around for the right opportunity before we started Puma.”

Staff reporter Deborah Crowe can be reached at dcrowe@labusinessjournal.com or at (323) 549-5225, ext. 232.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.