First there was Afinitor, the Swiss company's kidney cancer treatment for patients who have failed treatments of Pfizer's
Now Afinitor has little brother Zortress, which the Food and Drug Administration approved yesterday. It's actually the same drug, but used at a different dose to help keep kidney transplant patients from rejecting their transplants.
Zortress is used in combination with other drugs to keep the patient's immune system from attacking the transplanted kidney. It makes it possible to use less of a generic drug called cyclosporine, which thus reduces cyclosporine-related side effects.
The drug has been used in kidney and heart transplantation outside the U.S. for many years under the brand name Certican. Apparently the marketing department decided it needed a jazzed-up name when it made its U.S. debut.
Next up for transplant drugs is Bristol-Myers Squibb's
It's clear that drugmakers put a lot of thought into the names of their drugs. Johnson & Johnson's
We'll just have to wait and see whether Zortress can be a fortress for Novartis' revenue.
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Fool contributor Brian Orelli, Ph.D., doesn't own shares of any company mentioned in this article. Johnson & Johnson is an Income Investor selection and Motley Fool Options recommended buying calls on the stock. Pfizer is a recommendation of the Inside Value newsletter. The Fool's disclosure policy has a bland-but-appropriate name.