Drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. said Wednesday that a federal court denied an Amylin Pharmaceuticals Inc. request for a preliminary injunction to keep Lilly from using the same sales force to sell a diabetes treatment the companies developed and another treatment from a rival drug company.
The U.S. District Court for the Southern District of California also lifted a temporary restraining order against Lilly, which is headquartered in Indianapolis.
Amylin, which is based in San Diego, sued Lilly last month, accusing the larger drug company of breaking their commercialization deal for diabetes drugs by teaming with the German company Boehringer Ingelheim to develop and sell a competing product. Amylin and Lilly entered an agreement in 2002 to develop and sell the type 2 diabetes treatment Byetta.
Lilly then reached a deal earlier this year with Boehringer to develop and sell up to five drugs. One of those, the type 2 diabetes treatment linagliptin, received Food and Drug Administration approval in early May. Linagliptin goes by the brand name Tradjenta.
The federal court initially imposed the preliminary injunction and restraining order last month.
Amylin said in a statement it was disappointed with the court decision but will continue with its lawsuit. It called Lilly's conduct anti-competitive and said it limits patient treatment options.
Lilly said the laws suit was "entirely without merit," and it expects to prevail. The company also has said its diabetes strategy involves offering a broad range of options, and injectables like Byetta generally compete with other injectables, not tablets like Tradjenta.
Type 2 is the most common form of diabetes. People with the disease have trouble breaking down carbohydrates because their bodies have become resistant to the protein insulin. They are at higher risk for heart attacks, kidney problems, blindness and other serious complications.
Lilly shares climbed a penny to $37.27 in trading Wednesday, while Amylin shares fell 4 percent, or 54 cents, to $12.93.