Why Would a Biotech Company Go the Trouble of Changing Its Name?
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to Aveo Oncology is meant to say “we are declaring to physicians and patients that we are here for you, to deliver cancer medicine,” Ha-Ngoc says. The company tagline also changed from “science, passion, impact” to “human response.” Ha-Ngoc says the tagline is supposed to have two meanings. One represents the human efforts of its employees to respond to patient needs. It’s also supposed to be a reference to Aveo’s technology platform, which is supposed to make it easier to the company to predict how a drug will perform when it enters its first human clinical trial.
Still, Aveo has narrowed its options a bit by picking a name so focused on cancer medicine, as opposed to cardiovascular medicine, autoimmune medicine, or diabetes medicine. By moving away from the more vague “pharmaceuticals” name, Aveo Oncology could end up creating another naming conundrum in the future. Ha-Ngoc says he considered that possibility, which is why he retained Aveo Pharmaceuticals as the legal name, which gives him the flexibility in the future to create other subsidiaries based on the Aveo name. Genzyme did something like this in the past with tracking stocks for various Genzyme divisions (which confused and irritated so many people that Genzyme ended up re-bundled everything back under a single Genzyme corporate name, if memory serves).
There are plenty of administrative headaches that go with this kind of change. Every business card, sign, USB flash drive, brochure, banner, pen, website and corporate document needs to be changed. In Aveo’s case, they needed to be changed fast this spring, right before the big American Society of Clinical Oncology meeting, where Aveo is hoping to make a big impression.
Ha-Ngoc certainly sounded pretty happy with the name when I spoke with him last week, and I have to concede there’s good logic to it. But it also got me thinking about other name changes that were real improvements, and which ones were real duds. For fun, I thought I’d pose this question to readers. Which name changes do you think are for the better? Here are 10 examples. Just look over the list of name changes, and let me know which you think were “better” and which were “worse.”
[Updated survey results] Here are the results from the first 100 responses, which I was able to collect for free.
|Old Name/New Name||New Name Better||Worse|
|Aveo Pharmaceuticals/Aveo Oncology||65%||35%|
|Applied Molcular Genetics/Amgen||95%||5%|
|Inhale Therapeutics/Nektar Therapeutics||47%||53%|
|Activated Cell Therapy/Dendreon||97%||3%|
|Protein Design Labs/PDL Biopharma||56%||44%|
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