What are the biggest challenges facing theinsulin market today?
I think the biggest challenge for the insulin market is the same for all treatments for diabetes, and that is that despite all the advances in therapy, a tremendous number of patients remain in poor blood glucose control and in fact, some studies have suggested that control in general has actually worsened over the last several years. The challenge for our industry is to provide solutions for healthcare providers that enable their patients to be more successful in the management of their disease—solutions that are both effective and practical given the significant challenges that these patients face every day.
In your time with Lilly, what have been themost exciting changes to the insulin industrythat you have witnessed?
In my 20 plus years with Lilly, we’ve really come a long way. The evolution from animal-source insulin to human (recombinant DNA origin) insulin to insulin analogs (insulin designed to more closely mimic normal physiology) has advanced therapy tremendously. I’m proud to say that Lilly has been on the forefront of these innovations, which have made insulin therapy more effective and easier for patients use.
When it was approved in 1996, Humalogrevolutionized how insulin can be taken. Howhas Lilly stayed at the front of the insulinindustry since then?
No doubt, since Humalog’s introduction it hasmade a huge difference for so many patients.The success that Humalog has providedpatients has established it as very strongbrand in the mind of our customers, but werealize that there are alternatives and that themarketplace grows more competitive everyday. In the end, this is great for patients andit “raises our game” in the areas of providinga stream of innovation as well as service andsupport in order to meet the needs of ourcustomers. The organization that does thebest job of listening and responding to itscustomers’ needs with breakthrough productsand services will lead the industry—that is ourintent at Lilly.
What are the prospects of Lilly developing along-acting insulin?
Our mission at Lilly is to bring first-in-classand best-in-class products to the market. Withthis in mind, we are constantly searching forsignificant advances over existing therapies,which will allow patients to better managetheir disease. We are exploring a variety of newinsulin analogs as well as innovative deliverydevices, but we will only bring to market thoseproducts that provide significant advantages.Beyond insulin, we see tremendousopportunities in new therapies in the areasof GLP, novel compounds for diabetescomplications and obesity.
What is the future of insulin and diabetescare, and how will Lilly position itself toremain the industry leader?
There are many unmet clinical needs in thearea of diabetes management, and Lillyintends to build on its history of innovation inaddressing these areas.
By advancing better insulin and betterinsulin delivery devices, we intend to makeinsulin therapy more effective and moreconvenient. Beyond insulin, new hormones,GLP analogs, present promising alternatives forpatients. And Lilly recently received approvalfor Cymbalta for the treatment of diabeticperipheral neuropathic pain, the first productapproved for this use. We also have earlier-phaseresearch ongoing in the areas of obesityand diabetes complications.