Monday, October 27, 1997
Companies such as Eli Lilly and Co. have made profitable businesses
out of treating diseases such as diabetes, even though everyone acknowledges
that treatments such as insulin are sub-optimal. As more becomes known about
the mechanisms of diabetes and other metabolic conditions, raising the possibility
of preventive drugs and improved treatments, these companies are looking to
modernize their portfolios.
Emblematic of such a modernization strategy is Lilly's deal
with Ligand Pharmaceuticals Inc., in which the pharma company could spend more
than $200 million to apply LGND's technology to metabolic disorders (see
BioCentury Extra, Oct. 21). Lilly (Indianapolis, Ind.), which already markets
human insulin for late stage diabetes, has committed itself to programs in diabetes
prevention as well as treatment. The undertaking broadens Lilly's focus to include
metabolic diseases such as obesity and dislipidemia and the related disorders
of hypertension and atherosclerosis.