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New drugs for Diabetes & Respiratory Diseases

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Guest SuziQ2

The American Diabetes Association estimates that nearly 16 million Americans have diabetes, a third of whom are not even aware of their condition.  Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the U.S. and a leading cause of blindness, kidney disease, nerve disease, amputations, heart disease, and stroke.  Direct and indirect costs to the U.S. health care system total nearly $100 billion.


Exubera, an inhaled diabetes therapy, is being developed for patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes through a collaboration between Pfizer and Aventis Pharma.  Pfizer is also in collaboration with Inhale Therapeutic Systems, developers of the inhalation device and formulation process.


Over 90% of Americans with diabetes have type 2 diabetes, and nearly half have blood sugar levels that are not controlled.  Clinical trials show that more patients with type 2 diabetes who were treated with Exubera achieved the recommended blood glucose levels than patients who received either oral agents or only insulin injections.  Data suggests that Exubera may lead to greater patient acceptance and improved control.


During 2001, Pfizer and Boehringer Ingelheim reached an agreement to co-promote Spiriva, the first once-a-day, inhaled treatment for chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which one in five smokers will develop in their lifetiems.  Discovered and developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, Spiriva was shown in a six-month study to be significantly superior to Serevent, a leading respiratory medicine, in improving lung function.  There was no evidence of a loss of effectiveness of Spiriva during the study.  Spiriva is at an advanced stage of regulatory review in Europe, where it could be widely available as early as mid-2002.  In the U.S., a regulatory filing was submitted in December 2001.

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