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Amylin, MannKind Shares Rise On Diabetes Data Releases

DOW JONES NEWSWIRES Drug companies unleashed a glut of research about diabetes treatments Friday, including data about the popular Byetta treatment and longer-acting versions of it, which boosted Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s (AMLN) shares after hours, as well as encouraging statements about an inhaled-insulin treatment from MannKind Corp. (MNKD). The releases came as the American Diabetes Association's annual scientific meeting kicked off in San Diego. Amylin, Eli Lilly & Co. (LLY) and Alkermes Inc. (ALKS) released two reports about Bydureon, a once-weekly version of the already-approved diabetes drug Byetta. The Food and Drug Administration declined to approve Bydureon in October, substantially delaying a widely expected approval. Friday, results from one Bydureon study suggested the treatment didn't slow the heart rate in patients with type-2 diabetes. Other Bydureon studies showed that type-2 patients showed improvement in glycemic control and lost weight over the course of several years, the companies said. The three companies also released data on an investigational, once-monthly injectable suspension formulation of the drug. They said a midstage study indicated "substantial improvement" in glycemic control with modest weight loss. Regarding Byetta, Amylin and Lilly reported that a retrospective analysis of more than 778,000 patients showed adding Byetta injection to pre-existing diabetes treatment regimens was associated with reduced chances for heart failure. On its own, Amylin said a study of another already approved diabetes drug, Symlin, showed the treatment helped reduce the average level of blood sugar, insulin use and body weight in type-1 patients who used insulin pumps. Amylin shares rose 5.7% to $12.50 after hours. Alkermes shares rose 0.4% to $17.37, and Lilly's weren't active. MannKind reported two separate sets of findings about its inhaled insulin treatment, Afrezza. The company has been trying to win FDA approval for the treatment, but investors haven't been impressed by the rate of progress. Friday, it said two studies "further substantiate" that treatment with Afrezza doesn't cause excess cardiovascular events, like heart attack or artery disease, in type-1 or type-2 patients. It also said a study showed type-1 patients who received Afrezza combined with basal insulin had a more positive view about insulin therapy than those who used a standard therapy with basal insulin. MannKind shares were up 9% at $4.35 after hours. Through the close, the stock has declined 51% so far this year. -By Joan E. Solsman, Dow Jones Newswires; 212-416-2291; joan.solsman@dowjones.com

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