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Isis Pharmaceuticals changing their name after 25+ years for some reason

Isis Pharmaceuticals is changing its name after 25 years, despite experiencing an increase in sales over the past year.


Twenty five years of Isis

After twenty-five years in business, Isis Pharmaceuticals will change its name, for obvious reasons.
The company, originally named for Isis, a much-revered goddess originating in ancient Egypt and worshipped throughout the Roman Empire, makes prescription drugs that treat cancer and heart disease.


Previous name did not negatively affect sales

According to chief operating officer Lynne Parshall, “we decided to change our company name because, when people see or hear our name, we want them to think about the life-saving medicines we are developing,” rather than the ill-named extremist group responsible for terrorizing Iraq and Syria, as well as the recent attacks in Paris.

After the tragic events in Paris, the company decided to change its name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, and its stock ticker will change from ISIS to IONS. Wade Walke, another representative from Ionis, reports that their former name did not seem to be strongly affecting their value on the stock market (shares have risen 15 percent over the past month), and that a survey revealed that their institutional investors are not bothered by the name.

Disassociating from Isis

Nonetheless, according to Walke, “many of us were deeply affected by the tragedy in Paris…it weighed heavily on us, and we don’t want to have that association.” He also reports that retailers often called or emailed him encouraging him to change their “awful name.”

The name ISIS, which stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, is something of a misnomer – many journalists and politicians have stopped using it because it inaccurately describes the terrorist group as a state, and because the vast majority of Muslims dislike associating Islam with terrorism. Unfortunately the name has been permanently tarnished, leaving brands incorporating the name Isis in a sticky position.

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A Colorado bookstore, also named for the goddess, was vandalized after the attacks in Paris. Isis Books and Gifts, however, has decided not to change its name.

Isis, Egyptian goddess, declined to comment, although experts speculate that she won’t change her name either.


Ellen Vessels, a Staff Writer at The American Genius, is respected for their wide range of work, with a focus on generational marketing and business trends. Ellen is also a performance artist when not writing, and has a passion for sustainability, social justice, and the arts.

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