Isis can’t abide name

IsisIsis Pharmaceuticals is considering a name change after last week’s deadly attacks in Paris, a company official said.

Wade Walke, a vice-president for the California pharma company, said the attacks in Paris had changed the picture. The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, which has claimed responsibility for the assaults, is often called by its acronym ISIS.

“It’s becoming more of a problem for us. People are focusing more on our name. We don’t want the focus on our name. We want them to talk about our treatments.”

Walke said the company was evaluating whether to change names, but that the process will take “several months, not weeks”.

Isis Pharmaceuticals considered changing its name before, but decided against it after a poll of shareholders a few months ago recommended no change.

Created in 1989, Isis Pharmaceuticals is known for treatments against cancer and heart disease as well as for countering rare diseases. It has a number of partnerships with larger pharma companies, including AstraZeneca and GlaxoSmithKline.

Based in Carlsbad, California, Isis Pharmaceuticals had US$214.2 million in revenue in 2014 and currently has a market capitalisation of about $US7.2 billion. The company trades under the ticker “ISIS”.

Isis shares were down 0.9 per cent at US$60.77 in afternoon trade on Wednesday, about three per cent lower than their closing level on Friday, before news of the Paris attacks had emerged. 

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