Naming | Pharma

The Situation

Apellis Pharmaceuticals is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on developing novel therapeutic compounds for the treatment of numerous autoimmune diseases. Apellis was seeking a proprietary name for APL-2 (pegcetacoplan), an injectable treatment for adults with paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH) which is a rare buy life-threatening blood disease. The Apellis team engaged with Brandsymbol to create a brand name that was viable from both a legal and regulatory perspective. 

The Solution

APL-2 was created to combat the effects of PNH, which include anemia, red blood cell destruction, blood clots, and more. By taking APL-2, people with PNH see a decrease in their hemoglobin, effectively mitigating risk to the patient’s health and improving their quality of life. Apellis wanted a name that signified how the drug made patients’ lives easier and lowered their risk of life-threatening side effects. Taking this message into consideration, the Brandsymbol team utilized their i4 Methodology and the creative insights it generated through research to create the name EMPAVELI. The name stems from the words “empathy” and “meliorem,” which is the Latin word for “improve.” The result is a name that is both friendly in tone and positions Apellis as a compassionate, helpful partner in health. 


“We choose Brandsymbol for our EMPAVELI™ global branding initiative because of their innovative, collaborative, and tailored approach to brand naming. The process was incredibly inclusive of the Apellis team and ensured alignment to our goals for the brand name. We appreciated that it was more than just computer-generated combinations and the presented names were thoughtful and meaningful. Furthermore, the Brandsymbol team provided interactive and fun working sessions to derive the various names for consideration that the broader team really enjoyed! While the naming process can be long and iterative, the Brandsymbol team remained responsive, accountable, and supportive until we got the approval. We truly enjoyed working with the team and would definitely work with them for future naming needs.”

The Success

EMPAVELI, Apellis’ chosen name, was approved by the FDA in May 2021 as the latest treatment for adults with PNH, receiving priority review, fast track, and orphan drug designations for the indication. EMPAVELI is now available through a limited program for those with severe PNH.