#FierceMadness gets serious with 64 drug names, including play-in victors Taltz, Nerlynx

drug names bracket FPMK
Tymlos, Alunbrig, Parsabiv and Tremfya are packing up after the first round. (Carly Helfand)

**Voting for Round 2 has closed. See the results here and vote in the Final Four here.**

After a bruising two-day play-in, we have our first round of winners in this year’s drug name tournament challenge. Symproic, Nerlynx, Taltz and Giapreza all move into the round of 64 after defeating their opponents handily—but that means it’s time to say goodbye to four contenders, too.

Click here to download the bracket

In the Infectious diseases/Primary care region, the Radius drug Tymlos made an exit after a 135-52 smackdown from Purdue and Shionogi's opioid-induced constipation drug, Symproic. Readers liked the way Symproic clues doctors and patients in to the drug’s intended use; it treats “the SYM (symptoms) of OIC like a PRO,” one voter explained. And while another reader pointed out that you could potentially do the same with Tymlos—“it is TIME (tym) to LOSE (los) weight to get off all those diabetic drugs”—since Tymlos is actually an osteoporosis drug, that one’s not going to work. Bye.

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La Jolla's Giapreza did away with Amgen's Parsabiv in the Rare diseases/Miscellaneous region in a 104-60 defeat. While some voters lamented two less-than-ideal choices—we got a lot of the “neither—ew,” sentiment in the comments—ultimately, they rallied behind a name that, according to one reader, sounded like “Afrezza’s better-looking sister.”

On the other side of the bracket, Takeda's Alunbrig fell in the round’s most lopsided contest, losing 125-41. Apparently, Puma could have named its drug anything using the “lynx” suffix and still won, considering that readers liked the company-name-drug-name feline connection—and “anything that ends in ‘lynx’ seems slick.” On a side note, props to whomever wrote simply, “IMFINZI.” Your time is coming.

Johnson & Johnson's Tremfya is the final drug heading home after one round of play. It took a 116-49 beating at the hands of Eli Lilly's Taltz. But Taltz was a polarizing pick. Some voters praised its “strong resonance” and ease of pronunciation, while others lamented that they’d “honestly pick any name over Taltz.” But while the moniker may sound like “a swear word or something that Gollum would say,” as one reader jibed, it’s moving on, and Tremfya, which “sounds like a women's health drug gone wrong,” is out.

If you thought that was fun, get ready for the round of 64, which begins RIGHT NOW. Voting will stay open through Sunday at 10 p.m. ET, and you might need that long to sift through the second round’s 32 matchups. If you haven’t filled out your printable bracket yet, get it right here, and don’t forget to tweet us a photo of your completed picks!

As usual, make sure to include the rationale behind your votes, but if you can, try to include the name of the drug you’re talking about in the comments. We’re usually pretty good about knowing which quips go with which drug, but sometimes they can go either way. “A minty oatcake they stopped making in the 1970s," for instance. 

And last but not least, if you just can’t get enough #FierceMadness, check out the latest episode of FierceBiotech Radio, where we lay out our top tournament picks and host Amirah Al Idrus interviews drug-naming expert Scott Piergrossi of the Brand Institute.

Round 2 (Vote here)

Infectious diseases/Primary care

(1) Zepatier vs. (16) Symproic

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

Symproic
Maker: Purdue Pharma
Indication: opioid-induced constipation
Sounds like: the Lion King's lost brother

(8) Prevymis vs. (9) Xepi

Prevymis
Maker: Merck
Indication: cytomegalovirus
Sounds like: that second right before you strike out

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

(5) Zinplava vs. (12) Baxdela

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

Baxdela
Maker: Melinta Therapeutics
Indication: acute bacterial skin and skin structure infections
Sounds like: a laid-back vacation spot down the shore 

(4) Epclusa vs. (13) Adlyxin

Epclusa
Maker: Gilead
Indication: hepatitis C
Sounds like: the sad feeling of being left out

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

(6) Vabomere vs. (11) Shingrix

Vabomere
Maker: Rempex Pharmaceuticals
Indication: complicated urinary tract infections
Sounds like: a blue-blood countryside estate

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

(3) Mavyret vs. (14) Steglatro

Mavyret
Maker: AbbVie
Indication: hepatitis C
Sounds like: slang for a retired maverick

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

(7) Vosevi vs. (10) Juluca

Vosevi
Maker: Gilead
Indication: hepatitis C
Sounds like: a new electric vehicle brand

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

(2) Ozempic vs. (15) Solosec

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

Solosec
Maker: Symbiomix Therapeutics 
Indication: bacterial vaginosis
Sounds like: a watered-down orange liquor

 

Rare diseases/Miscellaneous

(1) Xiidra vs. (16) Giapreza

Xiidra
Maker: Shire
Indication: dry eye
Sounds like: a chemical you should keep out of the reach of children

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

(8) Xermelo vs. (16) Mepsevii

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

Mepsevii
Maker: Ultragenyx Pharmaceutical
Indication: mucopolysaccharidosis type VII 
Sounds like: cute furry invaders from outer space

(5) Exondys 51 vs. (12) Rebinyn

Exondys 51
Maker: Sarepta Therapeutics
Indication: Duchenne muscular dystrophy
Sounds like: the planet next to Tatooine

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

(4) Luxturna vs. (13) Hemlibra

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

Hemlibra
Maker: Roche
Indication: hemophilia A with factor VIII inhibitors
Sounds like: the newest sign in the Zodiac

(6) Rydapt vs. (11) Emflaza

Rydapt
Maker: Novartis
Indication: acute myeloid leukemia
Sounds like: a ride-sharing service

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

(3) Spinraza vs. (14) Defitelio

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

Defitelio
Maker: Jazz Pharmaceuticals
Indication: hepatic veno-occlusive disease 
Sounds like: an underdog opera character

(7) Haegarda vs. (10) Brineura

Haegarda
Maker: CSL Behring
Indication: hereditary angioedema
Sounds like: Hagrid’s twin sister

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

(2) Bevyxxa vs. (15) Ocaliva

Bevyxxa
Maker: Portola Pharmaceuticals
Indication: venous thromboembolism
Sounds like: the condition of being confounded by too many consonant chains

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

 

Oncology

(1) Rubraca vs. (16) Nerlynx

Rubraca
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

Nerlynx
Maker: Puma
Indication: early stage HER2-positive breast cancer
Sounds like: the most predatory of felines

(8) Venclexta vs. (9) Zejula

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

Zejula
Maker: Tesaro
Indication: epithelial ovarian, fallopian tube, or primary peritoneal cancer 
Sounds like: a washed-up fortune teller

(5) Imfinzi vs. (12) Lartruvo

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

Lartruvo
Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: soft tissue sarcoma
Sounds like: the real first name of that Metallica drummer

(4) Kymriah vs. (13) Idhifa

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

Idhifa
Maker: Celgene and Agios
Indication: acute myeloid leukemia with an isocitrate dehydrogenase-2 mutation
Sounds like: Pharoah’s personal scribe

(6) Kisqali vs. (11) Verzenio

Kisqali
Maker: Novartis
Indication: HR-positive, HER2-negative breast cancer
Sounds like: a flirty Roman

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

(3) Tecentriq vs. (14) Aliqopa

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

Aliqopa
Maker: Bayer
Indication: follicular lymphoma
Sounds like: a freestyle snowboarding maneuver

(7) Bavencio vs. (10) Besponsa

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

Besponsa
Maker: Pfizer
Indication: relapsed or refractory B-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia
Sounds like: a command for your wand

(2) Yescarta vs. (15) Calquence

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

Calquence
Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: mantle cell lymphoma
Sounds like: a supplement for seniors

 

CNS/Anti-inflammatory

(16) Trulance vs. (16) Taltz

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

Taltz
Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis
Sounds like: a mashup ballroom dance

(8) Radicava vs. (9) Eucrisa

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

Eucrisa
Maker: Pfizer
Indication: eczema 
Sounds like: former city-state in the Greek Empire

(5) Ocrevus vs. (12) Xadago

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

Xadago
Maker: Newron Pharmaceuticals
Indication: Parkinson's disease
Sounds like: a Shakespeare villian

(4) Kevzara vs. (13) Fasenra

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

Fasenra
Maker:
Indication:
Sounds like: a hat worn by Egyptian nobility

(6) Odactra vs. (11) Austedo

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

Austedo
Maker: Teva
Indication: Huntington's disease and tardive dyskinesia 
Sounds like: Spanish slang for, “see you later, man”

(3) Dupixent vs. (14) Nuplazid

Dupixent
Maker: Sanofi and Regeneron
Indication: atopic dermatitis
Sounds like: a type of foreign currency

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

(7) Ingrezza vs. (10) Briviact

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

Briviact
Maker: UCB
Indication: partial onset seizures
Sounds like: a one-minute scene from a play

(2) Cinqair vs. (15) Siliq

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

Siliq
Maker: Valeant
Indication: psoriasis
Sounds like: an organic version of WD40
 

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