About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

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In the Pipeline

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March 17, 2005

Symlin, At Last

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Posted by Derek

I wanted to take a moment to congratulate Amylin on the FDA approval of their diabetes therapy Symlin. I've known a couple of people out there over the years. Actually, a lot of people have had a chance to know someone at Amylin, because the company has had more than one near-death experience, during which they've had to fire big swaths of their staff. A couple of years later, they'd start hiring again, until the next safe landed on top of them. I'd like to know just how many employees have been with them for more than ten years - you could probably count them on one hand.

As this look back at the Motley Fool mentions, the drug has been through six Phase III trials over the years. That's a level of perseverance that borders on the pathological. You could only get away with this with a biological product, where the barrier to going generic is so high. A small molecule would have about ten minutes left on its patent by now, and its value would be much lower (which gets back to that Forbes column about patent extensions, actually.)

Here's a multiyear chart of Amylin's stock, so you can vicariously experience the thrills yourself.

Comments (3) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Diabetes and Obesity


1. bago on March 18, 2005 5:25 AM writes...

Also, A friend of mine just completed a book about a subject right up your alley.

I would wonder what your thoughts were on the subject of human enhancement, actually being on the front lines of making such things happen.

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2. Peter the Not-so-Great on March 18, 2005 6:24 PM writes...

Oy gevalt, I get dizzy just looking at that stock chart. Did you go short on some of that stock, by any chance? You could have made a fortune if you timed it right.

As for sticking with Simlyn, maybe the Amylin board are True Believere, i.e. they *know* Simlyn is a miracle treatment for diabetes, and they're sacrificing their bottom line for the good of humanity. That sort of business sense, as charming as it is, would explain why they've taken such a beating on NASDAQ.

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3. Amy Tenderich on March 20, 2005 12:03 PM writes...

Derek - My understanding is that this drug has some major drawbacks. See my blog posting today at

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