Alkermes, Lilly reaffirm plans to continue Air Insulin development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. Alkermes said that it will continue to work with Eli Lilly on their inhalable form of insulin for diabetes patients, called Air Insulin, even though Pfizer and Novo Nordisk have decided to back out of their respective inhaled insulin operations, according to published reports.

Rebecca Peterson, a spokeswoman for Alkermes, said the ease of Air Insulin sets it apart from competitors' designs. Users will simply need to insert a capsule, press a button, and breathe. The device is also much smaller than Pfizer’s Exubera, which was scrapped by the company in October because of too small a number of patients using the device, opting instead for injecting themselves with the insulin. Alkermes also said it and Eli Lilly are hoping to produce medical data that highlight the device’s benefits.

Air Insulin is currently in late-stage clinical trials for Type 1 and 2 diabetes, and results are expected this year. Tim Coulom, spokesman for Eli Lilly, said the company plans to file an application with the Food and Drug Administration in 2009 for permission to start marketing the device.

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