Companies Try to Leave Each Other in Inhalable Insulin Dust

| Dec 1, 1998

Two more contenders have stepped into the ring in the fight for inhalable insulin. Eli Lilly and Company and Dura Pharmaceuticals, a supplier for respiratory conditions, are financially uniting efforts to achieve inhalable insulin. Using an undisclosed sum from Lilly, Dura will try to suit its technology for a dry powder inhaler (DPI) for use with insulin.

Dura spokesperson Greg Mann emphasized that this announcement represents only a collaboration, and the companies "have not disclosed any information pertaining to development stages."

When Dura began developing the DPI, the idea was that people with asthma could use it as an inhaler. The DPI has several advantages over current inhalers: it contains no CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons); no powdered medication gets trapped in the mouth, as a motor blows it efficiently into the lungs; and people with trouble breathing can still get a full dose, because the motor does the inhaling for them.

After getting the FDA to approve its DPI, Dura's next job is to figure out how to get insulin into a powder form. Eventually, once the technology is ready, Lilly will conduct clinical trials.

Two other companies are already conducting clinical trials as part of the FDA approval process. Inhale Therapeutic Systems of San Carlos, California, in cooperation with Pfizer, has built a device that uses air compression to push powdered insulin into the lungs. Aradigm Corp. of Hayward, California, in conjunction with Novo Nordisk Pharmaceuticals, is developing a battery-operated system that works with liquid aerosol insulin.

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Categories: Asthma, Insulin, Novo Nordisk

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