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July 10, 2010.
Eli Lilly has made a move into enzyme replacement therapy by acquiring Alnara Pharmaceuticals, whose pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy, liprotamase, is currently under review by the FDA for the treatment of exocrine pancreatic insufficiency.
Data for the treatment have been promising so far, according to Alnara, which has published the clinical trial highlights on its website. If approved, the treatment would allow many patients to use “significantly fewer pills compared to current treatment options”, according to a joint press statement from Eli Lilly and Alnara. Because it is a non-porcine treatment, it could also reduce the risk of viral exposure.
In the press statement, Bryce Carmine, Executive President of Lilly and President of Lilly BioMedicines, explained that Alnara and liprotamase offer Eli Lilly a “promising entry” into enzyme replacement therapy. He also added that this area has a large unmet medical need and “opportunities” for novel compounds.
“Alnara has been very successful in the development of liprotamase — as indicated by its recent submission to the FDA — and we look forward to partnering with Alnara’s experts during the regulatory review process,” said Carmine in the press statement.
For Alnara, success has come in a very short space of time. The company was only established 2 years ago.
“Our agreement with Lilly is an important development as we move liprotamase through FDA regulatory review,” said Alexey Margolin, CEO of Alnara, in the press statement. “Lilly’s deep expertise in the US pharmaceutical business, including regulatory affairs and the development of innovative compounds that address unmet medical needs, created a natural fit and could allow for opportunities in markets beyond cystic fibrosis.”