Lilly banks on its drug delivery tech to crack insulin market

Eli Lilly ($LLY) has two in-development basal insulins in its pipeline, and the company is telling investors that its drug delivery technology will help it find a market share for the treatments, in-PharmaTechnologist reports.

Lilly's target in the diabetes game is no secret: Sanofi's ($SNY) blockbuster Lantus has been the standard-bearing basal insulin for some time. However, Lilly unveiled Phase II data this week demonstrating that one of its pipeline insulins, compared with Lantus, offered better or equal glycemic control and resulted in significant weight loss.

Furthermore, as Lilly Diabetes President Enrique Conterno told investors, the company's past investment in drug delivery tech could give it a leg up in the marketplace. Lantus is currently available only as an injection, and, using the tech behind the company's oral diabetes drug Jentadueto, for instance, Lilly could feasibly use other platforms to compete with Sanofi's treatment.

Of course, that's assuming LY2605541, Lilly's most promising pipeline basal insulin, continues its path toward approval. The company is developing the treatment alongside Boehringer Ingelheim, and the two plan to release Phase III results next year, followed by an FDA filing in 2014.

As drug developers angle for space in the diabetes market, novel delivery can make all the difference. For example, Amylin ($AMLN) is trying to get approval for an injection pen for Bydureon, and numerous smaller companies are looking to cash in on insulin films, patches, tablets and pumps.

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