Company news

November 4, 2009

Eli Lilly and Co.’s Byetta won a new market approval, which the company hopes will reverse the diabetes drug’s recent sales decline. But the drug also was the subject of a new alert about kidney problems in patients taking the drug. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration OK’d Byetta to be used sooner in patients suffering from poor blood sugar control. But the FDA  also told doctors to be alert about kidney problems of some patients taking Byetta. Before, the FDA called for Byetta to be used only after patients tried other drugs without success. Byetta, which Lilly sells via a partnership with San Diego-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., suffered a 5-percent decline in U.S. sales in the 12 months year, to $171 million in the third quarter. Worldwide Byetta sales totaled $593 million through the first nine months of this year, a 5-percent increase compared with the same period in 2008.

Lilly also will trim 191 sales jobs in Indiana as part of a company-wide restructuring announced in September that ultimately will result in 5,500 job cuts by the end of 2011. The pharmaceutical giant will trim its osteoporosis, diabetes and neuroscience sales forces, which are listed as working out of the Lilly Technology Center on South Harding Street. The workers' last day will be Dec. 31.

Local health care information technology professionals will discuss efforts to bring Indiana health care into the digital age at a breakfast meeting on Friday. The panelists will include Jane Niederberger, president of Indianapolis-based My Health Care Manager LLC, Stacy Cook, a physician attorney at the Indianapolis law firm of Barnes & Thornburg LLP, Michael E. Rudicle, a director at the local office of New York-based accounting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP, and Jack Horner, CEO of Major Hospital in Shelbyville. The meeting, part of the New Economy New Rules series, will be held at the downtown offices of the Barnes & Thornburg law firm.

Wishard Foundation said it has received a $6 million grant from the Indianapolis-based Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation to help fund construction of a new Wishard Hospital. Voters on Tuesday approved a new $754 million hospital for Wishard Health Services. The $6 million grant is the single largest philanthropic contribution Wishard has received in its 150-year history.

The FDA said a new titanium implant to re-stabilize the spine, made by Zimmer Holdings Inc., showed good results in a  clinical trial. But the FDA also noted that physicians who had received consulting payments from Warsaw-based Zimmer turned in patient results better than physicians who were not paid by Zimmer, according to the Associated Press. The FDA noted the correlation was not statistically significant, but it will asks a panel of orthopedic specialists to weigh in on the new device and decide whether Zimmer should provide more data before approving it for sale. The agency is not required to follow the group's advice, though it usually does.