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Lilly Wins Latest Round In Diabetes-Drug Feud With Amylin

By Peter Loftus Of DOW JONES NEWSWIRES A federal judge handed a legal victory to Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) in the drug maker's dispute with partner Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. (AMLN) over the marketing of diabetes drugs, Lilly said Wednesday. Indianapolis-based Lilly said a U.S. judge in Southern California vacated a May 23 temporary restraining order, thus lifting certain restrictions on Lilly's diabetes-drug sales representatives. San Diego-based Amylin sued Lilly last month, alleging Lilly's recent diabetes-drug partnership with Boehringer Ingelheim breaches terms of Lilly's older partnership with Amylin to market other drugs for the disease. Lilly and Amylin have an alliance dating to 2002 to develop and commercialize the Type II diabetes drug exenatide, which is now sold as a twice-daily injection under the brand Byetta. They also have co-developed a once-weekly injection formulation of exenatide--to be sold under the brand Bydureon--but have hit a regulatory delay in bringing that drug to the U.S. market. In January, Lilly signed a separate agreement with Germany's Boehringer Ingelheim to jointly develop and commercialize several diabetes drugs, including one approved in May by the Food and Drug Administration, Tradjenta. Amylin said Tradjenta competes with exenatide, and is seeking to block Lilly from using the same sales force to sell both Tradjenta and exenatide products. Amylin claimed an early victory on May 23 when U.S. Judge Janis Sammartino issued a temporary restraining order barring Lilly from using any employee with proprietary or confidential information about exenatide to market Tradjenta. The order also blocked Lilly from disclosing any of Amylin's confidential information to its Tradjenta sales reps or to Boehringer. Lilly spokesman Mark Taylor said that, following the May 23 order, any Lilly sales rep who promoted Byetta was unable to promote Tradjenta. But Lilly said Wednesday that the court vacated the May 23 order and denied Amylin's request for a preliminary injunction that would have continued the restrictions on Lilly's sales force. Lilly said it has complied with terms of its agreement with Amylin and expects to prevail in the litigation. Amylin, in a written statement, said it was disappointed with the decision, and continues to believe that Lilly's conduct violates their agreements, "is anti-competitive and limits patients' treatment options." Amylin also said the latest court ruling didn't make any findings on the merits of its claims, but merely declines to award injunctive relief, based on the conclusion that monetary damages would be sufficient. -By Peter Loftus, Dow Jones Newswires; +1-215-982-5581;

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