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FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation: The Meaning Behind Company Names #3

February 16, 2015



This is the third Blog Post in a series that examines the meaning behind the names of companies. This Blog Post looks at two companies that have received the coveted FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation (BTD):

•   ACADIA Pharmaceuticals

•   ARIAD Pharmaceuticals.

I – ACADIA Pharmaceuticals

ACADIA Pharmaceuticals, a San Diego-based biopharmaceutical company focusing on the development of medicines for neurological and central nervous system disorders, announces in September 2014, that the company receives the FDA’s BTD. The BTD is for Nuplazid (Pimavanserin) for the treatment of Parkinson’s Disease Psychosis (PDP). Pimavanserin is also in Phase II development for Alzheimer’s disease psychosis and has successfully completed a Phase II trial in schizophrenia.

Nuplazid, a once-a-day oral agent, is a selective serotonin inverse agonist preferentially targeting 5-HT2A receptors. 5-HT2A receptors are believed to play a key role in psychosis. ACADIA Pharmaceuticals holds worldwide rights to Nuplazid.

Per the company’s history section of its website, Mark Brann, Ph.D., a Professor at the University of Vermont, founded in 1993 Receptor Technologies. In 1997, the company changes its name to ACADIA Pharmaceuticals and moves corporate headquarters to San Diego. The company is named after ACADIA National Park (Maine) based on its historic ties to New England and the limitless power and beauty that the park inspires.

II – ARIAD Pharmaceuticals

ARIAD Pharmaceuticals is a global biotechnology company headquartered in Massachusetts and Switzerland, focusing on the development of treatments for cancer. In October 2014, ARIAD Pharmaceuticals announces that the company’s investigational oral cancer medicine, AP26113, receives the FDA’s BTD. The BTD is for Anaplastic Lymphoma Kinase positive (ALK+) metastatic Non-Small Cell Lung Cancer (NSCLC), for patients who are resistant to Pfizer’s orphan drug Xalkori (Crizotinib).

What is interesting about this BTD is that ARIAD Pharmaceuticals publicly discloses at their Q2 2013 Earnings conference call, that the FDA denies the BTD for this indication because of the “relatively short follow-up” and the small number of ALK+ patients. The company submitted to the FDA, data from only 24 evaluable patients in the Phase I portion of a Phase I/II trial, which resulted in 14 partial responses and 1 complete response in a Xalkori-naïve patient.

Per the company’s website:

“The name ARIAD originates from the Greek myth of Ariadne, a daughter of Minos II, king of Crete. According to the myth, Ariadne fell in love with Theseus, the founder-king of Athens, and gave him a spool of thread that enabled him to trace his path safely in and out of the labyrinth in which the Minotaur lived. After slaying the Minotaur, Theseus used the spool of thread to successfully return home.

At ARIAD, we see a powerful connection between this ageless story and our vision—the labyrinth symbolizes the complex system of molecular pathways within the cell, and the spool of thread represents the pathways that are leading our scientists to the discovery of breakthrough cancer medicines.”

Please Note: “Jigsaw” by User: Amada44 (Own work) [Public domain] | Wikimedia Commons.

Copyright © 2012-2015, Orphan Druganaut Blog. All rights reserved.

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