Lilly, partners release report on diabetes drug

June 10, 2008

Indianapois-based Eli Lilly and Co., along with California-based Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Massachusetts-based Alkermes Inc., released clinical trial results Monday night for their long-acting version of Byetta, a diabetes drug that analysts expect to be a big seller.

The study showed that patients maintained and even improved on their lower blood sugar and weight levels when being on long-acting Byetta for 52 weeks, compared with results yielded after 30 weeks on the medicine.

Lilly plans to submit long-acting Byetta for regulatory approval in the first half of 2009. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration typically takes about 10 months to render a decision on new drugs.

Lilly and Amylin already sell a twice-a-day version of Byetta, which is administered by injection. Byetta recorded worldwide sales of $651 million last year.

By their agreement, Lilly took home $331 million of that total last year. If long-acting Byetta is approved, analysts expect Byetta to produce more than $1 billion a year for Lilly in 2011 and beyond.

However, Denmark-based Novo Nordisk A/S and Switzerland-based Roche Group are developing competitors to both the short-acting and long-acting versions of Byetta. Analysts think their drugs could blunt the success of Byetta.

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