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48 News Stories

Why Do Prescription Drugs Have Such Crazy Names?

How do brand-name drugs get these names? And why do they sound so … bizarre?
There is an intricate method to the madness—with safety at its core.

July 09, 2024

Drug Names: The machinations behind the monikers

Unveiling the hidden world of pharmaceutical nomenclature

June 18, 2024

What’s in a clinical trial name? Breaking it down with the Brand Institute, from the acronymic to the aspirational

Naming a new clinical trial represents a major marketing opportunity for drug and device makers, according to Brand Institute

May 14, 2024

Biotech naming trends bypass ‘buzzwords and business speak’ to build whimsical, memorable brands

As the #FierceMadness: The Best Biotech Name Tournament twisted and turned toward the final championship, it became clear that there’s more to the names of these companies.

April 16, 2024

The key to #FierceMadness victory for AZ and Ionis’ Wainua? Unique sounds and ‘phonetic appeal,’ per the Brand Institute

Wainua’s victory in this year’s Fierce Madness drug name tournament may seem at first glance like a product of subliminal messaging—you can’t spell Wainua without w-i-n, after all—but there’s plenty more at play in the name…

April 15, 2024

Brand drug naming faces challenges in emerging categories, expert says

As brand drug naming gets more difficult, some therapy areas like obesity and Alzheimer’s disease are facing even more challenges. That’s because both are traditionally more conservative categories when it comes to the kinds of names the FDA will allow.

January 2, 2024

The secret science of how drugs like Ozempic and Jardiance get their weird names

It can cost billions of dollars to develop a pharmaceutical, so promoting it is essential. And that all starts with the name.

December 7, 2023

Why did Lilly give tirzepatide a new name for obesity? Hint: It’s the marketing

Eli Lilly’s decision to give two distinctive brand names to tirzepatide, which is approved for type 2 diabetes and now chronic weight management, indicates just how differently the company plans to market both indications.

Last week it announced that its weight management version of the drug is called Zepbound, while the same drug is branded as Mounjaro for type 2 diabetes.

November 21, 2023

From Paxlovid to Spikevax: Inside the ‘intensive’ process of naming drugs

Scott Piergrossi’s informal motto is “you name it, we name it.” Yes, you read that correctly. He is the “chief namer” at the Brand Institute, a branding agency.

His team helps dream up names for more than 75% of all new drugs approved worldwide each year. That includes more than 2,000 brand name drugs, plus some 1,600 generic, or “nonproprietary,” drugs.

November 21, 2023

What Eli Lilly’s Zepbound reveals about the intricate process of naming drugs today

Whether you’re a fan of the drug name Zepbound or, like one X user, think it sounds like “an off brand bus line,” you’re likely to have some opinion about the new moniker for Eli Lilly’s blockbuster diabetes drug Mounjaro. The company announced the new name on Nov. 8 following the Food and Drug Administration’s approval of the drug for weight loss as well.

November 20, 2023

The Trajectory of the ‘Birth of a Brand Name’ That You Want to Experience

Reboot – Current Location of People Who Left Takeda Pharmaceutical, Akira Mori – Brand Institute President, Tokyo.
October 15, 2023

Elicio’s Broad Cancer-Vaccine Ambitions

Elicio Therapeutics CEO Robert Connelly joins Bloomberg Intelligence’s Vanguards of Health Care podcast for a broad-ranging discussion about the company’s lymph node-targeting vaccine platform, their recent transition to the public markets, and their partnership with Brand Institute in the development of the Elicio brand name.
August 16, 2023

Drug Name Confusion: More Than 80 New Drug Pairs Added to the List

Zolpidem (Ambien) is a well-known sedative for sleep. Letairis (Ambrisentan) is a vasodilator for the treatment of pulmonary arterial hypertension.
August 8, 2023

Name that Humira biosimilar: Inside the complicated process to brand the newest versions of AbbVie’s drug

Seven new drugs launched last week, all with resounding similarity — and all trying to capture a piece of the lucrative market for AbbVie’s Humira.

July 11, 2023

薬の名前はなぜヘン? 工夫の結晶、その由来とルール

May 31, 2023

How a drug gets its name

Pharma companies have to keep safety in mind when it comes to names, because if two drugs have names that sound too much alike, providers could easily mistake one for the other, Scott Piergrossi, president of creative at Brand Institute, a company that works with drugmakers to come up with brand names, told Healthcare Brew.

May 23, 2023

The iii’s have it! Sanofi’s fresh approval of hemophilia drug Altuviiio gets a new factor in drug naming

Sanofi and Brand Institute have raised the bar in drug naming with the audacious use of not one, not two, but three of the same letter in a row for its new hemophilia treatment.

Feb 27, 2023

Inside the Pharma Name Game: Drug Word Choice Key to Building a Lasting Identity

Branding agency experts share what to know when it comes to legal, regulatory, and creative approaches in the complex drug-naming process, with its potential to shape a campaign’s success.

Feb 9, 2023

‘V’ and ‘O’ the most common first and last letters of drug brands in 2022, but diversity reigns in new names

There were 37 new FDA approved drug names in 2022, and the Brand Institute (BI), a leading company that names drugs for biopharma clients, has seen a pattern emerge.

Jan 24, 2023

Eisai follows family ties with name for newly approved Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi

The road to approval for Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi began more than a decade ago when Eisai and Biogen collaborated on a first trial for what was then called BAN2401.

Jan 10, 2023

Eisai follows family ties with name for newly approved Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi

The road to approval for Alzheimer’s drug Leqembi began more than a decade ago when Eisai and Biogen collaborated on a first trial for what was then called BAN2401.

Jan 10, 2023

Clinical trial branding? Biotechs and pharmas migrate name and identity strategies even earlier.

Branding is moving more and more downstream into clinical trials. Biotech and pharma companies are thinking about drug brand product names and identities much sooner in the development process, but there’s also another trend brewing in early marketing strategies — clinical trial branding.

Dec 12, 2022

What happened to all the ‘good’ drug names? Inside the modern day dilemma of Rx naming

Prescription drug names often spark speculation, debates and sometimes derision, but they also stir curiosity.

Apr 12, 2022

Wherefore Tavneos? ChemoCentryx and the Brand Institute explain how the #FierceMadness winner got its name

For more than three weeks, 68 drug brands battled to be crowned your FierceMadness drug name tournament champion, and in the end, that honor went to ChemoCentryx, its autoimmune disease drug Tavneos and the Brand Institute.

Apr 12, 2022

ChemoCentryx’ Tavneos trounces BioMarin’s Voxzogo to win #FierceMadness drug name tournament championship

On paper, Tavneos and Voxzogo are evenly matched competitors,” said Scott Piergrossi , president of creative at the Brand Institute, which named both drugs.

Apr 6, 2022

#FierceMadness: BioMarin’s Voxzogo battles ChemoCentryx’ Tavneos for the championship

The Final Four round is now closed. Vote in the final round here until 6 p.m Tuesday to decide your winner.

Apr 4, 2022

Name a drug? A difficult art

Cominarty, Spikevax, Vaxzevria, Nuvaxovid or soon Vidprevtyn, so many different brand names to designate a vaccine against the same disease, covid-19.

Mar 29, 2022

What’s in a Name?

That which we call rosaimab by any other name would find regulatory approval and commercial success. Or would it?

Jan 21, 2022

You say Trintellix, I say Brintellix: Why a drug name in the US won’t always translate across the pond

As a British citizen living in England but writing on American drug names, I’m in a perfect position to know that many drugs approved in Europe and the U.K. can have very different names from those in the U.S.

Jan 21, 2022

What Covid-19 Vaccine Did You Get? You Probably Don’t Know Its Name.

Hundreds of millions of people have gotten the Pfizer Inc.-BioNTech SE and Moderna Inc. Covid-19 vaccine shots.

Jan 09, 2022

AstraZeneca, Amgen tap Brand Institute in new naming twist for their freshly approved Tezspire

There’s certainly no shortage of respiratory drugs on the market. So, when it comes to naming a new brand, there’s extra pressure to be unique to stand out from a large pack while still hitting key linguistic connections.

Jan 6, 2022

The Pfizer vaccine’s full name is Comirnaty — a hectic mashup of COVID-19, community, immunity, and mRNA

Pfizer and BioNTech’s COVID-19 vaccine got full Food and Drug Administration approval on Monday — and the agency also approved the vaccine’s official name, Comirnaty, pronounced koe-mir-na-tee.

Jan 24, 2021

The curious alchemy of vaccine brands: when molecules and medicine mingle with rhyme and regulation

In April last year, Scott Piergrossi landed a high-profile contract he had to be dead secretive about.

Feb 10, 2021

Baystate Business: Vaccine Names (Correct)

As the Pfizer vaccine goes for full FDA approval, we could soon learn its official name. All approved drugs and vaccines must have a brand name for patient safety, intellectual property and marketing.

May 13, 2021

BioNTech Recognizes Employees and Partners for Their Support in Developing Historic Vaccine

BioNTech SE (Nasdaq: BNTX) today wants to express its thanks and gratitude not only to its employees but also to the many partners who have assisted the company in successfully developing a vaccine for COVID-19.

Dec 31, 2020

‘I haven’t even told my wife’: Inside the frantic and secretive sprint to name the Covid-19 vaccines

The United States has a Covid-19 vaccine, the result of science carried out at breakneck speed.

Dec 15, 2020

Naming New Drugs: It’s Serious Business, Particularly in NJ

With two-thirds of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies based in New Jersey, agencies spend a lot of time here working out what to name drugs

Dec 15, 2019

What’s in a name? Plenty. It’s your brand.

“Your name should evoke what’s unique about your product,” said Scott Piergrossi, an executive at Brand Institute.”

Dec 4, 2019

„X steht für Macht“

Der Markenname ist ein entscheidender Faktor für den Erfolg eines Produkts. Das gilt auch für Arzneimittel. Scott Piergrossi vom Brand Institute unterstützt Pharmahersteller bei der Namensfindung. Der Prozess kann Monate dauern.

Mar 9, 2016

What’s in a biotech name? How drug startups choose their brand

Kendall Squared brings you dispatches from the world’s epicenter for biotechnology and drug discovery.

Mar 9, 2016

‘Creation engineering’: The art and science of naming drugs

Yearly lists of the “most popular baby names” show how tastes change over time.

Nov 25, 2016


What’s in a name? For drugs, a lot of Zs and Xs

Farxiga. Hetlioz. Otezla. Zykadia. No, these are not the names of distant planets visited by the starship Enterprise.

Apr 10, 2015

Medicine Names

Ever wondered how a drug gets its name? Some of the biggest pharmaceutical drugs in the world are named in Downtown Miami.

Apr 10, 2014

X and Z in favor as companies name new drugs

They may be difficult to pronounce, but pharmaceutical companies eager to grab the attention of doctors and patients are returning to drug names starting with X and Z.

Apr 10, 2014



How to: name your new hit pharmaceutical. Brand Institute’s Scott Piergrossi explains.

Apr 25, 2012

Name blame: Ever wonder where drugs get those silly sobriquets?

When a team of branding consultants set out to name Pfizer Inc.’s next-generation erectile dysfunction drug, they took a cautionary lesson from its predecessor.

Aug 9, 2010

CBS Morning News

Apr 2, 2007

Branding Biotech

When a judge ruled this summer that Advancis Pharmaceutical Corp. had to change its name because it was too similar to another company’s, it was a significant setback. But it offered a chance for the Germantown drugmaker to do better.

Dec 17, 2006

THE NEW FACE OF SMALL BUSINESS ”A tremendous shift to self-employment is under way,” observes one economist. Before you try it, prepare, prepare, prepare.

FOR DECADES, half the working population of America has been confiding a secret desire to drinking buddies and pollsters: to yank off that corporate uniform, deliver a crisp farewell to the boss, and go into business alone or with a friend.

May 2, 1994

Recent Press Releases

Brand Institute Senior Vice President of Professional Development on the Importance of Selecting an Experienced Agency when Renaming Your Company

Picking a name is a decision that can greatly influence a business's success overall; in fact, a creative, memorable, and unique corporate brand name can be among its most valuable assets.

Apr 04, 2023

Brand Institute Promotes Alex Apelbaum to Divisional President, Southern Europe & Africa

Brand Institute, the world's #1 naming agency and the global leader in pharmaceutical and healthcare-related name development, is pleased to announce the promotion of Alex Apelbaum, PhD, MBA, to Divisional President, Southern Europe & Africa.

Mar 21, 2023

Brand Institute Promotes Kurt Yoon, R.Ph., to Divisional President, Asia

Brand Institute, the world's #1 naming agency and the global leader in pharmaceutical and healthcare-related name development, is proud to announce the promotion of Kurt Yoon, R.Ph., to Divisional President, Asia.

Mar 17, 2023

Harvard Business School Healthcare Alumni Association Virtual Round Tables

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