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Science & Technology

Carlsbad Drug Company Isis Pharmaceuticals Changes Its Name

A Carlsbad drug company has changed its name from Isis Pharmaceuticals to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Dec. 18, 2015.
Isis Pharmaceuticals, Inc.
A Carlsbad drug company has changed its name from Isis Pharmaceuticals to Ionis Pharmaceuticals, Dec. 18, 2015.

With the terrorist group known as ISIS continuing to tarnish its brand identity, Isis Pharmaceuticals has decided to change its name.

On Friday, the Carlsbad drug company announced it will now do business as Ionis Pharmaceuticals. Its stock ticker symbol will also change from ISIS to IONS.

The company's main phone line had already been updated by Friday morning, greeting callers with, "Thank you for calling Ionis Pharmaceuticals," before listing regular office hours.

Last year, an Isis spokeswoman told KPBS the company planned to keep its name. She said investors and business partners had not expressed concern about its unfortunate link with the terror group spreading through Iraq and Syria.

The company remained adamant about keeping its name until as recently as last month, telling The San Diego Union-Tribune, "We don't have any immediate plans to change our name."

The company has picked up what branding professionals call "negative brand associations."

For example, the word "ISIS" was said more than 100 times during this week's Republican presidential debate, often in close conjunction with words like "defeat" and "destroy."

"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," said chief operating officer Lynne Parshall in a news release.