Pfizer Inc. (PFE), Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) & Other Names To Know: A Full Breakdown

Page 1 of 2

Investing in biotech companies can be intimidating, especially for investors without a science background. But there’s hope. Understanding the naming system can make things easier to piece together, giving you confidence to invest in the sector.

Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)Here’s a breakdown of some of the suffixes that biotech companies use to name their generic drugs:

-afil: Erectile dysfunction drugs that inhibit phosphodiesterase 5 usually end in -afil. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)‘s Viagra (sildenafil), and Eli Lilly & Co. (NYSE:LLY)‘s Cialis (tadalafil) are members of the group.

-alol: Alpha and beta blockers, which includes a multitude of drugs, usually end in -alol.

-caserin: Drugs that stimulate the serotonin receptor end in caserin like Arena Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (NASDAQ:ARNA)‘s  Belviq (lorcaserin). The drug is approved to treat obesity, but drugs that activate the serotonin receptor can do other things. Wyeth was developing one, vabicaserin, as an antipsychotic, for instance.

-mab: Drugs that end in -mab are usually monoclonal antibodies. Monoclonal means they bind to a protein in one specific site. Monoclonal antibodies usually inhibit the protein they’re designed to bind to. AbbVie Inc (NYSE:ABBV)‘s Humira (adalimumab), for instance, binds to tumor necrosis factor-alpha, which prevents it from activating a cascade that stimulates the immune system.

-sartan: Blood pressure drugs that block the activation of angiotensin II AT1 receptors usually end in -sartan. Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)‘s Cozaar (losartan) and Novartis AG (ADR) (NYSE:NVS)‘ Diovan (valsartan) are both in this class of drug.

-statin: This is an obvious one. Statins, which lower cholesterol by inhibiting HMG-CoA reductase, usually end in -statin. Interestingly, the companies also used a similar naming situation (ending the drugs in -or) for many of the brand names as well: Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE)’s Lipitor (atorvastatin), Merck & Co., Inc. (NYSE:MRK)’s Zocor (simvastatin), and AstraZeneca plc (ADR) (NYSE:AZN)‘s Crestor (rosuvastatin). As far as I know, the companies weren’t required to follow a similar naming for trade names, but it probably just made sense after the first couple did it.

-vir: Most antiviral drugs end in -vir, although not every drug used to treat viral infections uses the scheme. Gilead Sciences, Inc. (NASDAQ:GILD) had two HIV drugs turned down by the Food and Drug Administration this week: elvitegravir and cobicistat. The latter doesn’t end in -vir, likely because cobicistat is considered a booster; its job in the drug cocktail is to inhibit human proteins responsible for breaking down the other drugs.

What’s in a name?
Biotech companies usually give drugs at least three different names during their development. Drugs often start with a code name. Pfizer Inc. (NYSE:PFE), for instance, names its early stage drugs PF- followed by a series of numbers. Next, biotech companies assign generic name using the system outlined by the U.S. Adopted Names Council. Finally, drugs are given a brand name that’s regulated by the FDA.

Page 1 of 2
blog comments powered by Disqus
Insider Monkey Headlines
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy
Insider Monkey Small Cap Strategy

Insider Monkey beat the market by 52 percentage points in 24 months Click to see monthly returns in table format!

Lists

The Top 10 States With Fastest Internet Speeds

10 Best Places to Visit in USA in August

Top 10 Cities to Visit Before You Die

Top 10 Genetically Modified Food In the US

15 Highest Grossing Movies Opening Weekend

5 Best Poker Books For Beginners

10 Strategies Hedge Funds Use to Make Huge Returns

Top 10 Fast Food Franchises to Buy

10 Best Places to Visit in Canada

Best Summer Jobs for Teachers

10 Youngest Hedge Fund Billionaires

Top 10 One Hit Wonders of the 90s

Fastest Growing Cities In America

Top 10 U.S. Cities for Freelancers

Top 9 Most Popular Free iPhone Apps

Top 10 Least Expensive Private Business Schools in the US

Top 15 Most Expensive Countries in the World – 2014

Top Businesses to Invest In

Top 5 Things You Might Be Doing Wrong With Your Business

Top 5 Strategic Technology Trends in 2014

Top Rags to Riches Stories

Parenting Behavior That Promotes Future Leaders

Top 5 Mistakes Made by Small Businesses

Top 5 Most Common and Potentially Devastating Financial Blunders

Top 5 Highest Paying Jobs for Web Designers

Top 6 Most Respected Professions that Also Pay Well

Top 5 Pitfalls Investors Should Avoid

Top 6 Lawyers and Policy Makers Under 30

Top 6 New Year’s Resolutions for Entrepreneurs

Top 7 Locations to Check in on Facebook

Top 5 Mistakes made by Rookie eBay Sellers

Top 7 eBook Publishers in 2013

Top 6 Health Industry Trends in 2014

5 Lessons for Entrepreneurs from Seth Godin

Top 5 Success Tips from Jordan Belfort – the Wolf of Wall Street

Best Master’s in Finance Degree Programs

Top 6 Earning Celebrities Over 50

The most expensive sports to play

Top 7 Earning Celebrities Under 25

Best 7 Online Courses to Take: Free Finance MOOCs

Top 6 Bad Habits that Promote Failure

20 Most Valuable Soccer Teams in the World in 2013

12 Most Expensive Countries for Foreign Students

Top 30 Most Influential Women in the World

Top 20 Most Expensive New Year Eve Shows

Top 5 Best Vocational Careers

Top 10 Jobs for 2014 by Salary Gain (Predictions)

Top 5 Digital Trends for 2014

Top 6 Things You Can Do To Increase Your Productivity

Top 9 Trending Smartphones in 2013

Subscribe

Enter your email:

Delivered by FeedBurner

X

Thanks! An email with instructions is sent to !

Your email already exists in our database. Click here to go to your subscriptions

Insider Monkey returned 47.6% in its first year! Wondering How?

Download a complete edition of our newsletter for free!