Let the real games begin: It's #FierceMadness Round 2


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While watercoolers across the nation play unwitting hosts to stale chats about that other March tournament, FierceMadness is getting into full swing. Today begins an intrigue-packed second round in which 64 contenders vie for a shot at the throne, and this is your chance to weigh in.


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If you missed Wednesday's intro, here's the gist: FiercePharmaMarketing is out to crown the best drug name among a slew of recently launched medicines, and we're looking to readers for help. Scroll down to vote on each of Round 2's 32 matchups and determine which will survive and advance--and please do chime in with your reasoning behind each decision. (Here are the results from Round 1.) We'll keep the polls open through Sunday before tallying them up and kicking off Round 3 next week.

Round 2 also marks your last chance to take part in our bracket challenge. Print and fill out your bracket, and then tweet it out with the hashtag #FierceMadness for a shot at a prize. (Here are some brackets already submitted.)

Good luck!

-- Carly Helfand (email | Twitter) and Damian Garde (email | Twitter)

Anti-infective Region

Bexsero made things look easy in Round 1, grabbing an early lead over Trumenba and never looking back. Its prize? A date with heavyweight Zerbaxa, a No. 1 seed some think might go all the way. Whether or not it does, Bexsero's got a tough road ahead, with contenders like the Olysio-Jublia victor looming in its path. Around the region, a 4-13 matchup between Viekira Pak and Cresemba is one to keep an eye on, as is a much-hyped showdown between Sovaldi and Harvoni. Only one Gilead drug will advance to Round 3--which will you choose?

No. 1 Zerbaxa vs. No. 16 Bexsero

Maker: Merck
Indication: Bacterial infection
Sounds like: A flowering plant species you shouldn't touch if you find it in the woods

Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indication: Meningitis B
Sounds like: An ancient, mythical sword

No. 8 Olysio vs. No. 9 Jublia

Maker: Johnson & Johnson
Indication: Hepatitis C
Sounds like: An ultra-trendy Mediterranean restaurant with exposed brick, craft cocktails and a line out the door

Maker: Valeant Pharmaceuticals
Indication: Fungal infection
Sounds like: The Greek goddess of joy

No. 5 Oralair vs. No. 12 Orbactiv

Maker: Greer and Stallergenes
Indication: Allergies
Sounds like: A foreign film noir

Makers: The Medicines Company
Indication: Bacterial infection
Sounds like: The maker of the eyewear we'll all be sporting when virtual travel becomes a thing

No. 4 Viekira Pak vs. No. 13 Cresemba

Viekira Pak
Maker: AbbVie
Indication: Hepatitis C
Sounds like: The Bluth family's favorite mode of transportation (after stair car)

Maker: Astellas
Indication: Fungal infection
Sounds like: A minor moon of Saturn

No. 6 Sivextro vs. No. 11 Tivicay

Maker: Merck
Indication: Bacterial infection
Sounds like: A ruthless Roman emperor who murdered his way to the top

Maker: ViiV Healthcare
Indication: HIV
Sounds like: A sparsely populated--and overlooked by tourists--island in the Bahamas

No. 3 Ragwitek vs. No. 14 Avycaz

Maker: Merck
Indication: Allergies
Sounds like: Ragweed.

Maker: Actavis
Indication: Bacterial infection
Sounds like: An old stone tablet bearing a cryptic code that, if solved, will guide its solver to the lost fortunes of a vanished city

No. 7 Sovaldi vs. No. 10 Harvoni

Maker: Gilead Sciences
Indication: Hepatitis C
Sounds like: A celebrated opera composer

Maker: Gilead Sciences
Indication: Hepatitis C
Sounds like: Another, less-well-known opera composer who famously tried to poison Sovaldi

No. 2 Luzu vs. No. 15 Dalvance

Maker: Valeant Pharmaceuticals
Indication: Fungal infection
Sounds like: A super-sour lemon candy your grandparents used to buy you when mom and dad went out of town

Maker: Actavis
Indication: Bacterial infection
Sounds like: A roadside town in western Iowa


Cardiometabolic and Respiratory Region

This one came down to the wire, but ultimately it was Saxenda that narrowly escaped with the Round 1 win. As one voter figures, Saxenda "sounds tough and willing to fight the difficulties associated with obesity"--and it better be ready to fight top-seeded Adempas, too. Down the ladder, look for Zontivity to come out firing on all cylinders against No. 2 Opsumit in what could be the tournament's biggest upset so far. Tanzeum also looks primed to make a run, but then again, that all depends on you.

No. 1 Adempas vs. No. 16 Saxenda

Maker: Bayer
Indication: Pulmonary arterial hypertension
Sounds like: A Shakespearean prince

Makers: Novo Nordisk
Indication: Obesity
Sounds like: A distant relative of our coworker Varun

No. 8 Tanzeum vs. No. 9 Esbriet

Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: An extremely dangerous aerial circus act

Maker: Roche
Indication: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Sounds like: A feminine hygiene brand

No. 5 Invokana vs. No. 12 Farxiga

Maker: Johnson & Johnson
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: The hostess at a pagan ceremony

Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: The ugliest Disney villainess

No. 4 Toujeo vs. No. 13 Anoro Ellipta

Maker: Sanofi
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: Something one might exclaim at a jousting match

Anoro Ellipta
Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indiction: COPD
Sounds like: The asteroid that will wipe out humanity

No. 6 Trulicity vs. No. 11 Savaysa

Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: A truly next-generation dating app

Maker: Daiichi Sankyo
Indiction: Atrial fibrillation
Sounds like: Your new local yoga studio

No. 3 Breo Ellipta vs. No. 14 Jardiance

Breo Ellipta
Maker: GlaxoSmithKline
Indication: COPD
Sounds like: The newest, hottest exercise machine at the gym

Makers: Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: A line of four-door family station wagons

No. 7 Ofev vs. No. 10 Afrezza

Maker: Boehringer Ingelheim
Indication: Idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis
Sounds like: A forgotten letter of the Hebrew alphabet

Makers: MannKind and Sanofi
Indication: Diabetes
Sounds like: A pasta special at Olive Garden

No. 2 Opsumit vs. No. 15 Zontivity

Maker: Actelion
Indication: Pulmonary arterial hypertension
Sounds like: An eyewear store for mountaineers

Maker: Merck
Indication: Stroke and clot prevention
Sounds like: A game Martians play in their free time


Oncology Region

Keytruda's lopsided Round 1 win over Opdivo lands it right in the middle of a stacked Oncology Region, where pre-tournament favorites Blincyto and Zydelig face no easy path to the quarterfinals. Imbruvica, controversially seeded at No. 9, will have to muscle past Mekinist to prove its doubters wrong, while Xofigo could have the makings of a Cinderella story from way down at No. 16. How it all shakes out is up to you.

No. 1 Zydelig vs. No. 16 Tafinlar

Maker: Gilead Sciences
Indication: Lymphoma
Sounds like: A deleted scene from Woody Allen's "Zelig" in which the title character joins a zydeco band

Maker: Novartis
Indication: Melanoma
Sounds like: The leader of a Germanic tribe that battled the Roman Empire circa 300 CE

No. 8 Mekinist vs. No. 9 Imbruvica

Maker: Novartis
Indication: Melanoma
Sounds like: A little-known contemporary of Kraftwerk and Neu

Makers: Johnson & Johnson and Pharmacyclics
Indication: Leukemia
Sounds like: A high-end camera manufacturer

No. 5 Gilotrif vs. No. 12 Cyramza

Maker: Boehringer Ingelheim
Indication: Lung cancer
Sounds like: The tough but big-hearted police captain in an '80s buddy cop movie

Maker: Eli Lilly
Indication: Lung and gastric cancers
Sounds like: A Brian Eno-produced David Bowie project quietly shelved after both parties got sober

No. 4 Ibrance vs. No. 13 Farydak

Maker: Pfizer
Indication: Breast cancer
Sounds like: A trendy self-help program that might be a pyramid scheme

Maker: Novartis
Indication: Multiple myeloma
Sounds like: A particularly offensive swear word in a post-apocalyptic sci-fi series

No. 6 Zykadia vs. No. 11 Keytruda

Maker: Novartis
Indication: Lung cancer
Sounds like: A Greek dance club

Maker: Merck
Indication: Melanoma
Sounds like: An unwanted visitor impervious to locks

No. 3 Gazyva vs. No. 14 Pomalyst

Maker: Roche
Indication: Leukemia
Sounds like: A mall kiosk pivoting after being served with a cease-and-desist letter from a certain famous chocolatier

Maker: Celgene
Indication: Multiple myeloma
Sounds like: An Android-compatible tablet with no chance of unseating the iPad

No. 7 Kadcyla vs. No. 10 Lynparza

Maker: Roche
Indication: Breast cancer
Sounds like: The ride with the longest line at Six Flags

Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: Ovarian cancer
Sounds like: A nice lady

No. 2 Blincyto vs. No. 15 Xofigo

Maker: Amgen
Indication: Leukemia
Sounds like: A Russian-fusion food truck that's, like, really hot right now

Maker: Bayer
Indication: Prostate cancer
Sounds like: A Southern rap sub-genre that stopped being cool after Rolling Stone ran a 4,000-word feature on it


CNS and Specialty Region

Cosentyx trounced rival Otezla on its way into the round of 64, perhaps because, "anything with an X just sounds better," as one voter put it. Now Cosentyx squares off against Alprolix, a contender with championship buzz, in a loaded CNS and Specialty Region. Elsewhere, high seed Tecfidera faces a plucky Cerdelga, while Movantik and Hetlioz prepare for a 12-5 matchup with a whiff of upset. Under-rated subplot: Is this region Vimizim's to lose? Scroll down to cast your votes.

No. 1 Vimizim vs. No. 16 Plegridy

Maker: BioMarin
Indication: Morquio A syndrome
Sounds like: A crossed-out idea from the brainstorming session that led to Wreckx-n-Effect's biggest hit

Maker: Biogen Idec
Indication: Multiple sclerosis
Sounds like: Plegridy, n., the quality of being deeply disagreeable

No. 8 Entyvio vs. No. 9 Natpara

Maker: Takeda
Indication: Inflammatory bowel disease
Sounds like: A streaming video startup driven to bankruptcy after Google's 2006 acquisition of YouTube

Makers: Shire and NPS Pharmaceuticals
Indication: Hypoparathyroidism
Sounds like: Lynparza's beau

No. 5 Movantik vs. No. 12 Hetlioz

Maker: AstraZeneca
Indication: Opioid-induced constipation
Sounds like: A soccer club in Germany's Bundesliga, short for Verein für Leibesübungen Movantik 96

Maker: Vanda Pharmaceuticals
Indication: Non-24-hour sleep-wake disorder
Sounds like: The result of a brief, misguided attempt by the Hector Berlioz estate to "rebrand" the Romantic composer

No. 4 Eloctate vs. No. 13 Hyqvia

Maker: Biogen Idec
Indication: Hemophilia A
Sounds like: An industrial-strength adhesive

Maker: Baxter
Indication: Immunodeficiency
Sounds like: A cannabis-derived artificial sweetener

No. 6 Alprolix vs. No. 11 Cosentyx

Maker: Biogen Idec
Indication: Hemophilia B
Sounds like: A particularly verbose man in a Thomas Pynchon novel

Maker: Novartis
Indication: Psoriasis
Sounds like: A friendly prehistoric bird

No. 3 Tecfidera vs. No. 14 Cerdelga

Maker: Biogen Idec
Indication: Multiple sclerosis
Sounds like: A brand of power tools

Makers: Sanofi and Genzyme
Indication: Gaucher disease
Sounds like: The word for "underworld" in Crimean Gothic

No. 7 Brintellix vs. No. 10 Hysingla

Makers: Takeda and Lundbeck
Indication: Depression
Sounds like: The evil megaconglomerate in a Japanese anime franchise 

Maker: Purdue Pharma
Indication: Chronic pain
Sounds like: How first basemen greet runners

No. 2 Belsomra vs. No. 15 Rytary

Maker: Merck
Indication: Insomnia
Sounds like: A Verdi opera that tells of forbidden love and yearning dreams

Maker: Impax Laboratories
Indication: Parkinson's disease
Sounds like: A workshop for aspiring novelists


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