Amylin wins TRO in fight over Lilly marketing pact

The jealous battle between Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly has moved a step further. A California court gave Amylin a temporary restraining order to prevent Lilly from going ahead with its agreement to market Boehringer Ingelheim's new diabetes drug Tradjenta.

Lilly and Amylin are longtime partners in the diabetes field. They currently sell Byetta, and they've been working to gain approval for a long-acting version of that drug, dubbed Bydureon. But Lilly recently linked up with Boehringer in a diabetes pact, part of which involves co-promoting Tradjenta. In fact, the court order states that Lilly had earmarked 60 percent of its diabetes sales force to sell Tradjenta, leaving less than half to favor Byetta.

Amylin cried foul, saying that Lilly shouldn't be playing the field with its diabetes sales force. In its lawsuit, Amylin claimed that Lilly's agreement to sell Tradjenta, which will compete directly with Byetta--and eventually Bydureon--is improper and anticompetitive. The company took particular issue with the fact that sales people who already know the nitty-gritty on Byetta will be selling a rival drug.

Lilly now says it's complying with the TRO, but that it believes Amylin's allegations are without merit. "[W]e fully expect to prevail in this litigation," General Counsel Robert Armitage said in a statement.

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