#FierceMadness: AbbVie's Skyrizi, Novartis' Zolgensma in the hunt for Sweet 16

FierceMadness 2020 bracket
AbbVie's Orilissa, Takeda's Motegrity and more will compete for a spot in the Sweet Sixteen in Fierce's drug name throwdown. (Carly Helfand)

**Voting for Round 3 has closed. See the results here and vote in the Sweet 16 here.**

With 32 drugs remaining, FiercePharma’s March Madness-style quest to find the best drug names is advancing to Round 3 with contenders such as AbbVie's Skyrizi, Gilead's Biktarvy and Novartis' Zolgensma in tow. Now down to a hunt for the Sweet 16, voting begins today in 32 matchups across four disease-area categories.

But first, let’s recap highlights from the last round of voting action, shall we?

In some of the top matches in the Infectious Diseases/Primary Care division, Takeda's Motegrity beat out GlaxoSmithKline's Dovato while Biktarvy bested Merck's Pifeltro.

Biktarvy got the nod on “easier to pronounce” and the association with a well-known pen brand. “Felt tip marker or Bic ballpoint pen? I'll go with the Bic,” one commenter wrote. Voters also didn’t care for the “pilfer” connotation of Pifeltro, and as one voter said, “As much as I'm sure Merck would like to pilfer some share from competitors with that name, give it to Gilead.”

Also in that region, in two close matchups, Skyrizi topped Sun's Ilumya and AbbVie's Orilissa edged AMAG's Vyleesi.

Skyrizi picked up votes from fans of “z” in drug names and for its “sky” connection. Ilumya, meanwhile, got props for its light and illumination conjure, but in the end, not enough votes. “Skyrizi sounds uplifting, rising to the sky. Ilumya sounds like ‘I did something bad to ya,’” wrote one voter.

Over in the Rare Diseases/Miscellaneous division, Dova's play-in winner Doptelet topped Celgene's Reblozyl, Alnylam's Onpattro won over Akcea and Ionis' Tegsedi, Pfizer's Vyndaqel scored over Catalyst's Firdapse, and Evolus' Jeuveau bested Galderma's Aklief.

Onpattro won over Santa Claus fans, with comments coming in such as, “Onpattro ... on Dancer, on Prancer, on Vixen.” Meanwhile, Vyndaqel skated by with most commenters just not liking Firdapse, which they said conjured feelings of relapse or collapse, or maybe even a taunt. As one voter said, “Sounds like an insult from the Big Bang Theory. ‘You're such a firdapse, Sheldon.’”

In Oncology, Bayer's Nubeqa sent Astellas' Xospata packing, while Beigene's Brukinsa took out Bayer and Loxo's Vitrakvi in a close contest. Meanwhile, Pfizer's Talzenna eliminated Novartis' Piqray, and in another close matchup, Sanofi and Regeneron's Libtayo edged Pfizer's Daurismo.

Vitrakvi got its share of “Viv la Vi” votes, but not enough for the Brukinsa fans, one who thought their drug “might be tasty.” Piqray couldn’t muster quite enough votes to escape against Talzenna, bolstered by "zen" fans—even with supporters who likened the Novartis drug to “the secret weapon of a guitar rock god."

In the close Libtayo-versus-Daurismo tilt, Libtayo garnered inventive interpretation, including, “world-famous Italian illusionist” or “sounds like an insult from Rush Limbaugh.”

Finally, in the CNS division, Amgen's Aimovig continued to roll with a win over US Worldmeds' Lucemyra. In a showdown between the M-named drugs, Novartis' Mayzent topped Merck KGaA's Mavenclad, while Jazz' Sunosi prevailed against Harmony's Wakix and Zolgensma topped Biocodex' Diacomit.

The M-battle brought out the Harry Potter fans, who noted Mavenclad should be “the 5th house at Hogwarts,” but the win went to Mayzent and to this voter who wrote, “Girl, you Mayzent.”

Zolgensma won easily, with fans of the therapy itself praising its “big debut.” Fans of the name chimed, too, noting that it, “rolls off the tongue.”

And just a note to those commenting about seeding not making sense (looking at you, Zolgensma fans, who think 15 is too low): FiercePharma reporters and editors do not take a position on name worthiness—the “seed” numbers were assigned randomly.  

The next round of voting begins now, so vote and comment here through 10 p.m. on Friday. Check back in on Monday to see which drug names made it to the Sweet 16!

Round 2 (Vote here)

Infectious Disease/Primary Care 

(1) Motegrity vs. (9) Biktarvy

Maker: Takeda
Indication: chronic idiopathic constipation
Sounds like: more righteous than you

Maker: Gilead
Indication: HIV (3-drug combo)
Sounds like: upgraded driveway material

(5) Rinvoq vs. (13) Evenity

Maker: AbbVie
Indication: rheumatoid arthritis
Sounds like: taking back engagement ring

Maker: Amgen
Indication: osteoporosis
Sounds like: work-life balance in perfect alignment

(3) Xofluza vs. (11) Ervebo

Maker: Roche/Genentech
Indication: flu 
Sounds like: too many hug and kiss marks on a card

Maker: Merck
Indication: ebola vaccine
Sounds like: a vacation rental company

(2) Orilissa vs. (10) Skyrizi

Maker: AbbVie
Indication: endometriosis
Sounds like: your cousin’s idea of a cool new baby name

Maker: AbbVie
Indication: plaque psoriasis
Sounds like: a Scottish island castle

Rare disease/Miscellaneous

(9) Onpattro vs. (16) Doptelet

Maker: Alnylam
Indication: polyneuropathy from hereditary transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis
Sounds like: Dad’s best friend

Maker: AkaRx/Dova
Indication: thrombocytopenia
Sounds like: unrelated pet twins

(5) Vyndaqel vs. (13) Trikafta 

Maker: Pfizer
Indication: cardiomyopathy from transthyretin-mediated amyloidosis
Sounds like: a French vodka brand

Maker: Vertex
Indication: cystic fibrosis
Sounds like: three-meat Lebanese kebab

(6) Ultomiris vs. (14) Adakveo

Maker: Alexion
Indication: paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria
Sounds like: a cosmetic brand

Maker: Novartis
Indication: sickle cell disease
Sounds like: a video camera brand

(2) Beovu vs. (10) Jeuveau

Maker: Novartis
Indication: age-related macular degeneration
Sounds like: the prequel poem to Beowolf

Maker: Evolus
Indication: aesthetics filler, frown lines
Sounds like: Inspector Clouseau’s sidekick


(9) Brukinsa vs. (16) Nubeqa

Maker: BeiGene
Indication: mantle cell lymphoma
Sounds like: the bro posse at a hipster consulting firm

Maker: Bayer
Indication: prostate cancer
Sounds like: a Pacific island vacation hotspot

(5) Turalio vs. (13) Balversa  

Maker: Daiichi Sankyo
Indication: giant cell cancer tumors
Sounds like: an Italian travel company

Maker: J&J Janssen
Indication: urothelial cancer
Sounds like: a semi-pro European basketball team

(11) Talzenna vs. (14) Lorbrena

Maker: Pfizer
Indication: breast cancer
Sounds like: a hip new Thai restaurant

Maker: Pfizer
Indication: non small cell lung cancer
Sounds like: wizard and witches battling arena

(2) Enhertu vs. (7) Libtayo 

Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: breast cancer
Sounds like: plus-one on an invitation

Maker: Sanofi and Regeneron
Indication: cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma
Sounds like: condiment combo for Freedom Fries


(9) Mayzent vs. (16) Aimovig

Maker: Novartis
Indication: multiple sclerosis
Sounds like: the entrance to a corn maze

Maker: Amgen
Indication: migraine
Sounds like: an investment hedge fund

(12) Epidiolex vs. (13) Sunosi

Maker: GW Pharma
Indication: epileptic seizures 
Sounds like: dissecting a foreign language

Maker: Jazz Pharmaceutical
Indication: narcolepsy, obstructive sleep apnea
Sounds like: incredibly curious 

(3) Reyvow vs. (11) Spravato

Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: migraine
Sounds like: a Star Wars Jedi's promise

Maker: J&J Janssen     
Indication: treatment-resistant depression
Sounds like: a newly discovered type of mushroom

(7) Dayvigo vs. (15) Zolgensma

Maker: Eisai
Indication: insomnia
Sounds like: a Spanish foreign film no one understands—even with subtitles

Maker: Novartis
Indication: spinal muscular atrophy
Sounds like: the mindreader act at the county fair