Brineura, Kymriah come up big as #FierceMadness field narrows to 32

drug names bracket FPMK
Voting in the Round of 32 will be open through Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET.

**Voting for Round 3 has closed. See the results here and vote in the Final Four here.**

While it could not have been a wilder NCAA March Madness kickoff weekend, complete with the first-ever No. 16 knockoff of a No. 1 seed, the #FierceMadness drug naming tournament saw its own upsets in the round of 64. Our tournament mirrored the NCAA's, in fact, with No. 16 Giapreza sending home No. 1 Xiidra. And who would have expected Kisqali and Eucrisa to also bow out this early?

(OK, some readers did, like the one who wrote, “I'm so sick of Eucrisa. Go away, Eucrisa commercials. We get it.”)

Underdog Giapreza from La Jolla took out Shire's Xiidra by a score of 269-220, with the double "ii" fans of the eye treatment Xiidra topped by the Italian food and pizza lovers who re-upped Giapreza.

Mitsubishi Tanabe’s Radicava bounced Pfizer’s Eucrisa in a relatively close 268-219 contest, with several voters commenting on the tough choice, including this one: “Both sound delicious, but I'll go for the salady one.”

Eli Lilly’s Verzenio takedown of Novartis’ Kisqali in a 279-199 tilt was a toss-up in the comments, but boiled down to simple preference for one Italian-sounding name over another.

There were a lot of close-call matchups, with many contests decided by fewer than 50 votes. The closest was Juluca versus Vosevi in the Infectious diseases/Primary care region, with ViiV Healthcare’s Juluca edging Gilead’s Vosevi in a 249-245 slugfest. Most commenters liked the tropical feel of Juluca and its friendly, casual vibe. Another provided the LOL-worthy comment, “Would Juluca at me now Ma. I'm on top of the world.” While there were not many comments on Vosevi, one reader observed that, “I just want to see how many different ways Gilead can make a brand name with Vs.”

The biggest blowout in our 64 round was in the Rare diseases/Miscellaneous region, where Haegarda was denied by Brineura in a bruising 643-126 loss. However, it wasn’t so much a distaste for the name of the CSL Behring preventative for hereditary angioedema, or HAE, but rather an overwhelming love for the Brineura moniker. Many voters noted the relevant “brilliant neuron” connotation—the BioMarin drug treats CLN2 disease and is administered into the fluid of the brain—while even more appreciated the pronunciation ease. As one voter succinctly said, “Easy to pronounce, easy to spell, and meaningful. Why can't more names be like that?” On the flip side, one wry comment on Haegarda seemed fitting post-St. Patrick’s Day: “Haegarda is sometimes heard in Ireland: "Hey, Garda, I swear I was only going 80 km/h."

Kymriah crushed Idhifa 368-124 in one of the cleverest-comment contests of the round. From “Isn’t Kymriah the fifth Kardashian sister?” to “Idhifa cow if they named my molecule Idhifa,” the takedown commentary ruled. (Extra props for this one: “Kymriah sounds like a trashy ex-girlfriend who cheated on you with some guy at the club. She spells her name with a y because she is ~special~.”)

In the CNS/Anti-infectives division, the "Never Taltz"-er crowd went to work to make sure the Eli Lilly psoriasis med play-in winner didn’t get any further. While one worried that, “It’s hard to stop something as terrible as Taltz once it gets some momentum,” fellow voters came to the rescue to knock the name out of contention, including the reader who wrote, “I yell Taltz at work when I get a paper cut. It just sounds angry.”

Next up, the round of remaining 32 drug names is now open for voting. It’s a short round this time, with voting open only through Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET. We’ll have the Sweet Sixteen field set, along with with voter tallies and comments, on Wednesday.

As usual, make sure to include the rationale behind your votes—you just may see your comment up in lights, or at least in the wrap-up story coming out on Wednesday. For those of you still on the sidelines, go ahead and jump in the game; it’s never too late. Get your printable bracket here, and don’t forget to tweet us a photo of your winners and losers so far!

Remember, as we saw in the last round, every vote counts in the #FierceMadness drug name tournament!

Round 3 (Vote here)

Infectious diseases/Primary care

(1) Zepatier vs. (9) Xepi

Maker: Merck
Indication: hepatitis C
Sounds like: the guy who drives the Zeppelin

Maker: Medimetriks Pharmaceuticals
Indication: impetigo
Sounds like: an island paradise off the coast of the Yucatan

(5) Zinplava vs. (13) Adlyxin

Maker: Merck
Indication: Clostridium difficile infection
Sounds like: vampire wine of choice

Maker: Sanofi
Indication: Type 2 diabetes
Sounds like: when you can’t come up with marketing copy

(11) Shingrix vs. (14) Steglatro

Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indication: Shingles vaccine
Sounds like: a leg cramp you get when playing rugby

Maker: Merck
Indication: Type 2 diabetes
Sounds like: a mixed-breed dinosaur

(10) Juluca vs. (2) Ozempic

Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indication: HIV
Sounds like: a mixed martial arts training weapon

Maker: Novo Nordisk
Indication: Type 2 diabetes
Sounds like: an athletic competition in the Emerald City


Rare diseases/Miscellaneous

(16) Giapreza vs. (8) Xermelo

Maker: La Jolla
Indication: increasing blood pressure in patients with septic shock
Sounds like: your favorite frozen pizza brand

Maker: Lexicon Pharmaceuticals
Indication: carcinoid syndrome diarrhea
Sounds like: a hybrid fruit of the future

(12) Rebinyn vs. (4) Luxturna

Maker: Novo Nordisk
Indication: hemophilia B
Sounds like: bouncing back from a bad relationship

Maker: Spark Therapeutics
Indication: inherited retinal disease
Sounds like: a chi-chi resort for the rich and famous

(11) Emflaza vs. (3) Spinraza

Maker: PTC Therapeutics
Indication: Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Sounds like: the sound someone makes when they have a virus

Maker: Biogen
Indication: spinal muscular atrophy
Sounds like: a summer music festival

(10) Brineura vs. (15) Ocaliva

Maker: Biomarin
Indication: CLN2 disease
Sounds like: a saltwater shrimp species

Maker: Intercept Pharmaceuticals
Indication: primary biliary cholangitis
Sounds like: an all-natural surface cleaner



(1) Rubraca vs. (8) Venclexta

Maker: Clovis Oncology
Indication: ovarian cancer with a BRCA mutation
Sounds like: a recently rediscovered, ancient device that’s better than an abacus but, like Betamax, never became industry standard

Maker: AbbVie and Roche
Indication: chronic lymphocytic leukemia with 17p deletion
Sounds like: the regret felt when you didn’t click to buy

(5) Imfinzi vs. (4) Kymriah

Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: unresectable Stage III non-small cell lung cancer and bladder cancer
Sounds like: when something will never, ever, ever happen again

Maker: Novartis
Indication: B-cell precursor acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Sounds like: a top-10 baby name for 2019

(11) Verzenio vs. (3) Tecentriq

Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer
Sounds like: a dead spot where mobile phones can’t connect

Maker: Roche
Indication: bladder cancer, non-small cell lung cancer
Sounds like: an unorthodox old man

(7) Bavencio vs. (2) Yescarta

Maker: Pfizer and Merck KGaA
Indication: Merkel cell carcinoma, bladder cancer
Sounds like: the court jester

Maker: Gilead
Indication: non-Hodgkin lymphoma
Sounds like: a next-gen encyclopedia



(16) Trulance vs. (8) Radicava

Maker: Synergy Pharmaceuticals
Indication: chronic idiopathic constipation and IBS-C
Sounds like: a weapon used by King Arthur’s knights

Maker: Mitsubishi Tanabe Pharma America
Indication: ALS
Sounds like: slang for a really cool house

(5) Ocrevus vs. (4) Kevzara

Maker: Roche
Indication: multiple sclerosis
Sounds like: James Bond's archnemesis

Maker: Sanofi and Regeneron
Indication: rheumatoid arthritis
Sounds like: a new-age magician

(6) Odactra vs. (14) Nuplazid

Maker: ALK
Indication: house dust mite allergies
Sounds like: The Shakespeare heroine who exposes Xadago

Maker: Acadia Pharmaceuticals
Indication: delusions associated with Parkinson’s disease
Sounds like: a renewable energy source

(7) Ingrezza vs. (2) Cinqair

Maker: Neurocrine Biosciences
Indication: tardive dyskinesia
Sounds like: the beautiful, wealthy and secretly evil female lead in a new CW drama

Maker: Teva
Indication: severe asthma
Sounds like: a Lucha Libre wrestling star