Company news

May 16, 2011

Eli Lilly and Co. is a two-timing lout, according to a lawsuit filed Monday by Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., a San Diego-based company with which Lilly has developed and co-marketed Byetta, a successful diabetes drug. Amylin’s lawsuit accuses Indianapolis-based Lilly of breaking terms of their deal by forming a similar development and marketing agreement with Germany-based Boehringer Ingelheim GmbH to sell a drug that will compete with Byetta. The competing drug, called Tradjenta, was approved for sale this month by U.S. regulators. Lilly and Boehringer formed their agreement in January. Amylin said it plans to continue working with Lilly, but it wants to keep Lilly from using the same sales force to sell both Byetta and Tradjenta. Its lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California. Lilly’s top diabetes executive, Enrique Conterno, called Amylin’s suit “without merit.”

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration requested new data or new studies from Zimmer Holdings Inc., DePuy Orthopaedics Inc., Biomet Inc. and many other makers of orthopedic implants to see if metal-on-metal hip implants raise the level of metals in patients’ blood, according to Bloomberg News. Zimmer, DePuy and Biomet are all based in Warsaw. Zimmer spokesman Garry Clark wrote in an e-mail to Bloomberg News that his company was "working to understand the scope of the agency's request."

Ball Memorial Hospital was losing $9 million a year before Indianapolis-based Indiana University Health acquired it in 2009. Two years later, Ball executives say the Muncie hospital has swung to a $6 million gain, according to The Star Press in Muncie. Ball Memorial executives say they reduced costs via an 18-month pay freeze and by taking advantage of IU Health’s greater buying power. “If Ball Memorial is paying $10 a unit but the next day I can pay $7 because of the IU Health relationship, those cost savings are significant,” Ball Memorial chief Michael Haley told the newspaper. He added that the hospital has worked to increase patient referrals by repairing strained relationships with local physicians, many of whom were referring patients to hospitals in Fort Wayne or Indianapolis.

A consumer advocacy group says Eli Lilly and Co.’s Amyvid, an experimental imaging agent to help doctors detect Alzheimer’s disease in patients’ brains, shouldn’t be approved because it could lead to false diagnoses of the disease, according to Bloomberg News. Public Citizen, based in Washington, D.C., voiced its concerns in a letter in the Journal of the American Medical Association, criticizing a 35-person study of Amyvid published in January. Amyvid, which Lilly acquired last year in a $300 million purchase of Avid Radiopharmaceuticals Inc., was recommended in March by a U.S. Food and Drug Administration advisory panel—if Lilly developed a training program to help doctors interpret brain scans in which the agent lights up clusters of amyloid plaques, the telltale sign of Alzheimer’s. Currently, such plaques can only be observed in autopsies of deceased Alzheimer’s patients. But Public Citizen wants Amyvid tested by more doctors in more patients, because it says results so far have been unreliable. Lilly officials called the group’s claims “inaccurate.”