Clinical Trial Naming: Best Practices

Knowing and understanding clinical trial naming best practices in critical to the success of your trial.

Like anything of which there exists more than one in the world, a clinical trial needs a label or moniker to differentiate it from other clinical trials. But rather than thinking of a clinical trial name merely as a functional differentiator, it is in all reality your first opportunity to build a brand image that conveys desirable perceptions to your trial’s stakeholders.

What those perceptions ought to be depends on the brand strategy for your trial. Here are a few examples of trial names and what they were designed to communicate to their target audiences:

BRAVE – This trial was named to acknowledge the bravery of the boys who are afflicted with the debilitating disease of Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy and meant to guide how patients enrolled in the trial were to be engaged with and treated. The letters are also an acronym for Boosting Renewed Activity, Vitality and Energy, which encompasses the overall goal of the treatment.

AIRFLOW – The intention of this trial name for a medical device in the COPD space was to convey the primary benefit of the procedure, which permanently opens the brachia and is adjunctive to pharmaceutical treatments. The name was applied to a series of 3 successive trials.

Five Psycho-Sensory Brand-Building Tools

Psycho-Sensory Brand-Building Tools Psycho-sensory brand-building tools are an essential element in determining the success of your brand. Think about...

Read more

STRATAVERA – A series of studies for a burn product called StrataGraft™, the naming strategy built off the product name with the addition of metaphorical imagery of high quality from the name Stradivarius, violins whose sound quality “defies attempts to explain or equal it.”

PULSAR – This trial for a pharmaceutical treatment in pulmonary sarcoidosis combined the first three letters of the treatment condition while evoking stellar bodies and successful navigation.

CLARIOS – The name of a trial for a medication used to treat uveitis, a group of diseases all characterized by inflammation of internal structures in the eye. The name is suggestive of clarity and comfort, in line with the treatment objectives.

As these five examples of trial names demonstrate, there are different styles or types of trial names that can work to create positive impressions for the trial. These perceptions are further enhanced by the look and feel of the full trial branding and the attendant communications materials. Regardless of the name style or type, there are key criteria that must be met for effective trial naming.

Key criteria for effective trial naming

Having named many clinical trials, these are the most important criteria we have learned make for a good trial name:

  1. Relevant. The trial name reflects the brand strategy for the trial
  2. Credible. The name does not overpromise and is acceptable to regulators
  3. Multicultural. The name works in all appropriate languages and cultures
  4. Clear. The name is easy to read and pronounce consistently
  5. Memorable. The name makes an impact and is not easily forgotten
  6. Unique. The name is differentiating within its context/space

Applying these clinical trial naming best practices will ensure a trial name that stands out and supports the effort to recruit and retain trial participants and advocates.

For help naming and branding your clinical trial, contact Six Degrees at

  • Select category:

Want to publish a
guest post?

Review Guidelines
Subscribe today to get our latest content delivered to your inbox
Your subscription could not be saved. Please try again.
Your subscription has been successful.

Follow us

Frank Schab
An experienced marketing and branding strategist, Frank has been helping clients optimize the value of their brands through insightful analysis and effective strategy for more than three decades. Along with holding positions at General Motors and Pfizer, Frank served as a Managing Partner at Interbrand New York and VP of Global Brand Research at Opinion Research Corporation before co-founding Six Degrees. His brand-building work in various sectors including hospitality, medical device, pharmaceutical, automotive and technology has taken him to 17 countries on four continents. Frank holds a doctorate in psychology from Yale University and speaks fluent German.

Ready to talk?

Learn more about us • Get some case studies • Schedule a presentation • Scope a project