Byetta - the new diabetes treatment

U.S. regulators have approved a diabetes drug derived from lizard saliva for patients who have not responded to other treatments, the drug's developers, Eli Lilly and Co. and Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc., said on Friday.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved exenatide, an injectable drug to be sold under the brand name Byetta, as an additional therapy for patients with &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Type II diabetes -- the most common form -- whose blood sugars are not sufficiently controlled by two oral medications.

Analysts expect the drug could eventually generate sales of about $1 billion to $2 billion.

Shares of Amylin fell 8 percent to $16.73 in midday trade on the &to=http:// ' target=_blank>Nasdaq, after earlier touching a two-year low of $16.01. Analysts, however, said the news was positive for Amylin. The companies, which had sought approval only to market Byetta only in combination with other diabetes drugs, said that the FDA also gave conditional approval for Byetta as a stand-alone treatment, subject to further clinical trials, informs Reuters.

Amylin stock prices dropped on the news, while Eli Lilly stock edged higher.

The market potential, though, is huge. There are 18.2 million diabetics in the U.S., according to the American Diabetes Association. But analysts are concerned that many patients with type 2 diabetes, which is less serious than type 1, won't happily switch to injectable treatments. Byetta, which was co-developed by both companies, improves blood sugar control in patients with type 2 diabetes, according to Amylin Pharmaceuticals (down $1.65 to $16.53, Research) and Eli Lilly and Co (up $0.03 to $58.03, Research). It will available June 1 for patients who aren't getting enough insulin through oral medication, the companies said.

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Author`s name Editorial Team