Behind the rebrand: AMRI swaps acronym legacy name for Curia to set stage for future growth

AMRI's rebrand to Curia includes a plum and yellow color palette meant to set it apart from the CDMO crowd.

From Albany to ancient Rome, AMRI’s swap of its legacy location name to the stylized industry-relevant Curia was just six months in the making.

VSA Partners, a brand strategy and design agency better known for its work with companies like Google, Nike, IBM and Molson, led the charge that resulted in an official name change last month and an industry ad campaign rolling out to tout the change.

The new name is an actual word—which was important to AMRI and VSA instead of going the typical pharma route of neologism mash-ups and complex multi-syllable drug names. The early Roman word Curia means “gathering of minds.”

RELATED: Curia CEO seized 'huge open door' to biologics with back-to-back buyouts of LakePharma, Integrity Bio

“That assembly of minds toward the greater good was the idea behind the name,” Mike Walsh, VSA’s client engagement head, said. “We also really liked curiosity and cure and that led to the tagline ‘From curiosity to cure.’ ”

The name Curia, he added, “has a lyrical quality that also alludes to the promise of medicine.”

AMRI began as Albany Molecular Research Inc. 30 years ago in upstate New York, best known back then for the discovery and development of the active ingredient in allergy medicine Allegra.

Now with 21 locations and more than 3,000 employees, the contract research, development and manufacturing organization decided it needed a name and global brand to match its profile.

In fact, its latest acquisitions move it into the global biologic arena for the first time—Curia announced deals to buy Lake Pharma, which closed on Thursday, and Integrity Bio, which is expected to close later this quarter.

RELATED: Curia, on heels of rebrand, snaps up CDMO Integrity Bio to expand westward

Curia’s logo includes a nod to AMRI’s historical use of a molecule, now updated and sitting atop the new modern typeface wordmark. The new color palette in bright plum and yellow is meant to set Curia apart from the CDMO crowd, balancing the seriousness of the work with “the optimism of the color palette,” Walsh said.

“It’s important to ground the name in business strategy,” he said. “We need to make sure it evokes what we want it to because of the business that we are, not just because we like the sound of it.”