Company news

March 26, 2012

Researchers at the Indiana University School of Medicine may have found a way to predict who will develop Type 1 diabetes, according to a study published March 22 in the journal Diabetes. Dr. Raghu Mirmira and Sarah Tersey, both professors in the pediatric department of the IU medical school, reported that they had been able to identify problems in insulin-producing cells in mice before the mice actually developed symptoms of diabetes. They were also able to identify a protein in the mice that rises in level as insulin-producing cells become dysfunctional. Screening for that protein in blood tests could identify patients in the process of developing diabetes. Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes, occurs when the body’s immune system attacks insulin-producing cells in the pancreas.

Purdue University’s Emerging Innovations Fund invested $80,000 in Spensa Technologies Inc. and another $20,000 in Tymora Analytical Operations LLC. Both companies are based in the Purdue Research Park in West Lafayette. Spensa Technologies is commercializing the Z-Trap, which detects target insects captured by the trap and sends the data wirelessly to a farmer’s mobile phone or computer. Knowing the types of pests can help farmers select the correct pesticide and the right amount to apply. Tymora Analytical incorporates nanotechnology in laboratory products designed to make cancer research and drug discovery more efficient and effective.

European regulators approved an expanded use for the diabetes treatment Byetta developed by drugmakers Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co., according to the Associated Press. The companies said Friday they received approval for Byetta to be used with or without common treatments like metformin and Actos to treat adult Type 2 diabetes patients who have not been able to control their blood sugar levels with just insulin. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the same expanded use last fall. Byetta, or exenatide, is a twice-a-day injection. It was first approved in Europe in 2006. Amylin and Lilly announced in November that they are ending their collaboration on Byetta and its successor, Bydureon, which is designed to be taken once per week. The two companies have already ended their partnership in the United States, and Amylin will take over marketing of Byetta outside the U.S. by the end of 2013.