The schizophrenia drug Zyprexa was one of Eli Lilly's biggest success stories; however, the company has also paid big settlements regarding claims that it hid data about a burdensome weight-gain side effect. As a result, Lilly has begun late-stage trials for a next-generation schizophrenia drug that offers treatment without weight gain, according to FierceBiotech.
For now, the drug is called LY2140023 and will hopefully complete all trial phases by 2013, potentially seeing FDA approval in 2014.
Fierce notes that the treatment works differently than atypical antipsychotics such as Zyprexa. Instead of blocking dopamine, the new treatment stimulates metabotropic glutamate receptors, or mGlu. In 2007, Lilly produced mid-stage data indicating that the drug successfully treated schizophrenia, without the weight gain. Yet, in 2009, the company also had to discount data that failed to demonstrate the drug's superiority over a placebo, faulting the study design.
Lilly remains hopeful for success from phase III of the design, but the company is also searching to find a possible genetic profile more likely to respond positively.