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Isis renamed Ionis to sidestep militant association

Says the move should avoid any 'distraction' to its business

IonisIsis has announced a change in name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals in a bid to avoid any association with the Islamic State militant group terrorising the Middle East and beyond.

The company's official announcement of the name change made no mention to Islamic State - variously referred to as Isis, Isil and Daesh - but chief business officer Sarah Boyce confirmed to Reuters that the connotation had been a factor in the decision.

"When you talk about the company you want people to immediately think about the incredible work you're doing to deliver transformational drugs to patients ... not as an unfortunate namesake," she said.

While initially reluctant to make any change, the company saw its share price decline 4% in the wake of the Paris attacks last month, and has also become concerned about the potential impact of the association on employees while traveling. The latest move will avoid any "distraction" to its business, said chief executive Stanley Crooke.

Isis specialises in RNA-based therapeutics and has been operating since the late 1980s, and was originally named after the Egyptian goddess of nature and magic.

Ionis "is an original name that the company has chosen to represent its innovative culture and heritage as both the pioneer and leader in the RNA-targeted therapeutic space for the past 26 years", said the company in a statement.

Isis has already brought one drug to market - Sanofi-partnered Kynamro (mipomersen) for homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH) - and has three candidates in late-stage development.

IONIS-TTR Rx is being developed for familial amyloid polyneuropathy and amyloid cardiomyopathy in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), while Biogen-partnered nusinersen is being tested in spinal muscular atrophy and volanesorsen is in trials for familial chylomicronaemia syndrome and familial partial lipodystrophy.

The company's Nasdaq ticker symbol has also been changed from ISIS to IONS and it has a brand new logo and website address: www.ionispharma.com.

Article by
Phil Taylor

23rd December 2015

From: Sales

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