New drug from lizard's saliva

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Saturday, April 30, 2005

A chemical part of the saliva of a poisonous lizard, the Gila monster, has become an integral partner in the control of Type 2 diabetes. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has approved its use for people who have not achieved adequate control of their diabetes with oral medications.

Byetta, or exenatide, is produced by Amylin Pharmaceuticals. It is injected before eating morning and evening meals as part of a combination treatment with oral drugs. The FDA said it could be approved as a stand-alone treatment if the drug companies can support such use with data.

Eli Lilly & Co. was the development partner in creation of the drug.

"With Byetta's demonstrated effects on blood sugar and its safety profile, physicians and patients now have a new approach to fight the growing diabetes epidemic," said Sidney Taurel, CEO of Lilly.

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