Court lifts restrictions on Lilly diabetes reps

Round one in the Eli Lilly-Amylin Pharmaceuticals dispute may have gone to Amylin, but Lilly has prevailed in round two. A federal court in California canceled a temporary restraining order preventing Lillly's diabetes-drug sales reps from marketing a product from Boehringer Ingelheim that could compete with the Lilly-Amylin product Byetta.

What's more, the court refused to give Amylin a preliminary injunction that would have kept some Lilly reps off the Boehringer job while the companies settle their differences. Amylin still has the chance to prove its case, but in the meantime, Lilly is free to pursue its partnership with Boehringer.

Lilly recently teamed up with Boehringer on five diabetes drugs, including the recently approved Tradjenta. Feeling threatened, Amylin sued, saying that the Boehringer collaboration violated its deal with Lilly. And it intends to keep pressing that suit. "Amylin continues to believe that Lilly's conduct violates our diabetes collaboration agreements, is anti-competitive and limits patients' treatment options," the company said in a statement.

Lilly, of course, was pleased with the latest ruling. General Counsel Robert Armitage said in a statement that Lilly had complied fully with its Amylin contracts. "We believe that Amylin's allegations against Lilly are entirely without merit and we fully expect to prevail in this litigation," he said.

- check out the Amylin statement
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