Amylin slaps Lilly with suit over Byetta alliance

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Amylin Pharmaceuticals has filed a lawsuit against Eli Lilly alleging that Lilly breached alliance agreements and is participating in “anti-competitive activity” regarding the commercialization of exenatide (Byetta), a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist approved to treat type 2 diabetes.

San Diego-based Amylin filed the suit with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California requesting a preliminary and permanent injunction. Amylin has alleged that Lilly has acted in “improper, unlawful and anti-competitive behavior” regarding the company’s most recent alliance agreement with Boehringer Ingelheim (BI) to develop and market BI’s linagliptin (Tradjenta).

Amylin said that Lilly’s recent agreement with BI will infringe and compete directly with Amylin’s exenatide products. Amylin seeks to prevent Lilly from utilizing the same sales drive to sell both exenatide and BI’s linagliptin.

"Amylin selected Lilly as a partner to promote development and maximize sales of Amylin's exenatide products. We are disappointed that we could not resolve this matter amicably and that we were forced to bring legal action to protect our rights, our products and our shareholders,” Amylin said in a statement. “Notwithstanding this litigation, we intend to continue to collaborate with Lilly in the development and commercialization of exenatide products."

“We believe the lawsuit is without merit and will vigorously defend our position," Enrique Conterno, president of Lilly Diabetes said in a statement. “Lilly has been and remains fully committed to fulfilling its obligations under its exenatide collaboration agreement with Amylin, as well as to complying with all laws and regulations. We look forward to building on the alliance's success achieved to date."

Lilly said that it plans to submit a response to the FDA in the second half of 2011 for Bydureon, a once-weekly form of Byetta, a drug that received a positive opinion from the European Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use last month. Additionally, Lilly said that it will continue to bring new therapeutic options to the table to treat diabetes.