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Biotech / Medical : ARADIGM CORP. ARDM

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From: fred hayes1/14/2008 10:04:22 PM
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Down to one insulin inhaler project -- ALKS LLY device.
UPDATE 1-Novo Nordisk halts work on AERx inhaled insulin
Mon Jan 14, 2008 5:36pm EST
(Adds details on Novo plans, Lilly product)

NEW YORK, Jan 14 (Reuters) - Danish drugmaker Novo Nordisk (NOVOb.CO: Quote, Profile, Research)(NVO.N: Quote, Profile, Research) said on Monday it was halting development of its AERx inhaled insulin product and will lay off most of the approximately 300 company employees working on the product.

The company said it decided the product, meant to deliver inhaled droplets of liquid insulin, did not have adequate commercial potential given the recent failure to attract patients of Pfizer Inc's (PFE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) own inhaled insulin drug, called Exubera.

Pfizer in October abandoned its involvement with Exubera, which delivered inhaled insulin powder through a bulky device, because of dismal sales.

"In simply looking at the market and the convenience of our device, we decided it is not really there," Novo Nordisk spokesman Christian Qvist Frandsen said.

Frandsen said Novo Nordisk plans to lay off the majority of its 300-person team developing the product, based primarily in Hayward, California.

"We will continue to research inhaled insulin powder and inhaled liquid insulin, but starting from scratch," Frandsen said.

Novo Nordisk is one of the world's biggest sellers of insulin drugs, which are taken by injection several times a day to control excessive amounts of sugar in the bloodstream.

Novo Nordisk had licensed rights to the AERx product from Aradigm Corp (ARDM.OB: Quote, Profile, Research), a tiny biotechnology company.

"We will have to negotiate to give the rights back to Aradigm," said Frandsen.

Frandsen said Aradigm would have received a "small single-digit royalty" on sales of AERx if Novo Nordisk had brought the product to market.

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