Isis Pharmaceuticals Changes Its Name

 | Dec 18, 2015 | 11:30 AM EST
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Isis Pharmaceuticals learned that what's in a name can be a very scary thing.

On Friday, Isis Pharamaceuticals (ISIS) announced it was changing its name to Ionis Pharmaceuticals. The company's stock will be trading under the ticker "IONS," effective Tuesday.

The company's press release did not address the problems of its name being the same as that of ISIS, the terrorist group responsible for the November Paris attacks as well as a number of other atrocities in the Middle East.

The name change is not a decision the company took lightly. The company's name was an homage to the Egyptian goddess Isis, who was associated with healing. In September 2014, CEO Stanley Crooke appeared on CNBC's Mad Money with Jim Cramer and said the company was not planning to change its name.

"We've been Isis for 25 years and I don't feel like I want to capitulate to these terrorists by changing my name," Crooke said.

However, as the terrorist organization's atrocities mounted, the pharmaceutical company's thinking changed. In November, D. Wade Walke, vice president for corporate communications and investor relations for Isis Pharmaceuticals, told CNN the company was considering a name change.

"Even though people know we're not associated with the terrorist group, the name itself has so many negative connotations," Walke said. "It's obviously not getting better over time."

The California-based pharmaceutical company is not the only institution to change its name. In October 2014, the producers of the popular FX animated TV show Archer announced a plot twist in the show's sixth season that would result in the show's characters no longer working for the International Secret Intelligence Service, which went by the acronym ISIS.

Shares of ISIS are down slightly by 0.48% on Friday while the S&P is trading down 0.78%.

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