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.

This was the task handed to pharma product naming service the Brand Institute, which worked with partners AstraZeneca and Amgen for their newly approved asthma drug Tezspire (tezepelumab-ekko).

The monoclonal antibody gained an FDA nod as a maintenance treatment to improve severe asthma symptoms when combined with a patient’s current asthma medicine. AstraZeneca told Fierce Pharma Marketing that it expects to launch Tezspire in the U.S. later this month.

It’s pegged to be a future blockbuster for the Big Pharmas, with analysts seeing peak sales in 2030 at $2.5 billion. But there is a large respiratory drug market and a lot of product naming competition out there.

RELATED: 2021 drug approvals: AstraZeneca and Amgen's Tezspire

Scott Piergrossi, president of creative at the Brand Institute , points out this competition: GlaxoSmithKline’s Advair and Xolair from Roche and Novartis, two aging products, clearly went with the suffix "air" to avoid any doubt about what they are for. We’ve also seen this with "vent" in GSK’s Flovent and Proventil.

So goes the story with "pulm" for pulmonary and and "resp" for respiratory, as with asthma drugs like AstraZeneca’s old therapy Pulmicort and Duoresp, Teva’s generic version of AstraZeneca’s Symbicort.

With its latest therapy, Tezspire combines the "tez" prefix, linking to the product’s ingredient name, tezepelumab, with a suffix suggesting respire, or breathe.  

“We developed a name containing '-spire,' a new root that firmly links to the therapy area,” explained Piergrossi.

“I believe the newness of the -spire suffix speaks to the innovation of the compound itself. Phonetically, the name almost draws breath when pronounced, an exhalation-like sound that feels like relief.” 

Tezspire is the first biologic approved in asthma that targets thymic stromal lymphopoietin, an epithelial cytokine.