Company news

January 27, 2010

The Indiana University School of Medicine in Indianapolis will be one of 12 sites for a clinical trial of a potentially groundbreaking treatment for autism. New York-based Curemark LLC has developed an ingestible powder designed to help patients digest protein. The drug is the product of research by Curemark founder Dr. Joan Fallon, who found that many autistic children lack enzymes to digest protein, meaning their bodies cannot produce the amino acids crucial in brain development. If it proves effective against autism, the powder, called CA-MT, would be the first treatment to reverse the underlying causes of autism.

Hopes rose Tuesday that Eli Lilly and Co. and its partner Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. will win approval of their new version of diabetes treatment Byetta. That’s because the U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Monday approved a Byetta rival, Victoza, developed by Denmark-based Novo Nordisk A/S. Victoza is a once-daily shot, compared with the twice-daily Byetta. But Indianapolis-based Lilly and San Diego-based Amylin have asked the FDA to approve a once-weekly version of Byetta, which would be the most convenient for patients. Analysts expect sales of once-weekly Byetta to reach as high as $2 billion by 2015, which would be split by Lilly and Amylin. Sales of twice-daily Byetta last year were on pace to reach about $790 million. What’s been holding up Victoza and the once-weekly Byetta have been regulator concerns about patients developing inflammation of the pancreas while taking the drugs. The FDA required Victoza’s label to warn about pancreatitis as well as use in patients at risk for a rare thyroid cancer. Those warnings were milder than many analysts had feared. One analyst expects the FDA to make a decision on once-weekly Byetta by March 5.

Warsaw-based Symmetry Medical Inc. will manufacture implants, instruments and cases for OrthoPediatrics Corp., another Warsaw-based company that makes orthopedic implants for children. Symmetry expects to bring in $3 million in revenue from the deal this year. Symmetry also will receive fees for inventory management, warehousing and supply-chain management services. The agreement will last for five years.

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