Khoso Baluch, Vice President of U.S. Diabetes Care and Family Health at Lilly

Meet the people who make a difference in the diabetes business community

Dec 1, 2004

What are the biggest challenges facing the insulin market today?

I think the biggest challenge for the insulin market is the same for all treatments for diabetes, and that is that despite all the advances in therapy, a tremendous number of patients remain in poor blood glucose control and in fact, some studies have suggested that control in general has actually worsened over the last several years. The challenge for our industry is to provide solutions for healthcare providers that enable their patients to be more successful in the management of their disease—solutions that are both effective and practical given the significant challenges that these patients face every day.

In your time with Lilly, what have been the most exciting changes to the insulin industry that you have witnessed?

In my 20 plus years with Lilly, we've really come a long way. The evolution from animal-source insulin to human (recombinant DNA origin) insulin to insulin analogs (insulin designed to more closely mimic normal physiology) has advanced therapy tremendously. I’m proud to say that Lilly has been on the forefront of these innovations, which have made insulin therapy more effective and easier for patients use.

When it was approved in 1996, Humalog revolutionized how insulin can be taken. How has Lilly stayed at the front of the insulin industry since then?

No doubt, since Humalog’s introduction it has made a huge difference for so many patients. The success that Humalog has provided patients has established it as very strong brand in the mind of our customers, but we realize that there are alternatives and that the marketplace grows more competitive every day. In the end, this is great for patients and it “raises our game” in the areas of providing a stream of innovation as well as service and support in order to meet the needs of our customers. The organization that does the best job of listening and responding to its customers’ needs with breakthrough products and services will lead the industry—that is our intent at Lilly.

What are the prospects of Lilly developing a long-acting insulin?

Our mission at Lilly is to bring first-in-class and best-in-class products to the market. With this in mind, we are constantly searching for significant advances over existing therapies, which will allow patients to better manage their disease. We are exploring a variety of new insulin analogs as well as innovative delivery devices, but we will only bring to market those products that provide significant advantages. Beyond insulin, we see tremendous opportunities in new therapies in the areas of GLP, novel compounds for diabetes complications and obesity.

What is the future of insulin and diabetes care, and how will Lilly position itself to remain the industry leader?

There are many unmet clinical needs in the area of diabetes management, and Lilly intends to build on its history of innovation in addressing these areas.

By advancing better insulin and better insulin delivery devices, we intend to make insulin therapy more effective and more convenient. Beyond insulin, new hormones, GLP analogs, present promising alternatives for patients. And Lilly recently received approval for Cymbalta for the treatment of diabetic peripheral neuropathic pain, the first product approved for this use. We also have earlier-phase research ongoing in the areas of obesity and diabetes complications.

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Dec 1, 2004

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