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Europe Clears Diabetes Drug

Lilly and Amylin can start selling Byetta for type 2 diabetes.

European regulators approved the drug Byetta from

Eli Lilly

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Amylin Pharmaceuticals


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to treat type 2 diabetes.

Byetta is designed to enhance blood-sugar control in patients who haven't seen an adequate improvement using the maximum tolerated doses of the commonly used drugs metformin or sulfonylurea.

The approval follows a positive opinion issued by the Committee for Medicinal Products for Human Use at the European Medicines Agency. The regulators based their decision on data from 35 studies on nearly 4,000 individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The clinical results showed that the drug helped patients improve long-term blood-sugar control by lowering both fasting and post-meal glucose levels. Patients also lost weight thanks to their treatment.

"The availability of a treatment that lowers blood sugar to a healthy range, lowers weight, and has the potential to help restore the response of the body's insulin-producing cells is an exciting advance for patients with type 2 diabetes," said Anthony Barnett, a professor at the U.K.'s University of Birmingham and an investigator in the drug's clinical trials.

Lilly's shares fell 17 cents to $54.38 at the close of trading Monday, while Amylin's shares lost 59 cents to $42.86.