The DOG days have arrived

The DOG days have arrived

Once again Lilly (NYSE:LLY) has broken new ground in their quest to become a serious player in diabetes. Even though the company screwed up their partnership with Amylin (NASDAQ:AMLN) and is having an equally difficult time validating their decision to partner with Boehringer Ingelheim, a partnership which ultimately lead to the Amylin break-up, the company’s resolve remains undaunted. Today we learned that this quest to regain diabetes dominance has literally lead the company to the dog pound as they announced they are supporting research “to Determine What a Dog’s Nose Knows About People with Diabetes and Severe Hypoglycemia”.

According to a company issued press release; “A young black Lab named Pete sleeps at the feet of Dr. Dana Hardin, medical director and pediatric endocrinologist, at Eli Lilly and Company (NYSE: LLY) campus in Indianapolis. Though he looks at home, Pete is not Hardin’s pet. He’s an assistance dog in training, one of several at Lilly being socialized in real-life situations by employee volunteers under the guidance of the Indiana Canine Assistance Network (ICAN). Through ICAN (, Pete is learning to detect hypoglycemia, a dangerously low level of blood glucose (sugar), in people with diabetes.

As a hypoglycemia alert dog, Pete is also part of research Lilly began in June to better understand why dogs are able to sense severe blood sugar events in their owners and to identify the compound or compounds they smell as part of those events.”

Now the company is not disclosing how much they plan to invest into this effort, nor did they indicate what new diabetes compounds they see coming out of this effort. However Diabetic Investor has learned that treats are now being handed out liberally at Lilly headquarters and the fire hydrants are being installed around the corporate campus. Yet no one at the company seems to know whether the treats and hydrants are actually for the dogs or whether this is the latest corporate perk for the Lilly management team which is making a serious attempt to completely ruin the company’s legacy franchise.

Given Lilly’s penance for coming out with me-too, copy-cat late to market diabetes drugs it should surprise no one that they are once again behind the curve with this latest effort. Back in June of 2011 Diabetic Investor actually wrote about a cute and cuddly Labrador retriever named Tanner who according to our story: “To measure her blood sugar, Jenna Schuiling could have pricked a finger. Instead, she cuddled with her Labrador retriever.”

Also back in March of 2010 we wrote; “Given all the bad news coming out of the Abbott (NYSE:ABT) diabetes unit and their continuing efforts to turn gold into sand, the company appears to have a new strategy. According to an article published yesterday in the Edmond Sun; “A glucose monitor made by Abbott is now available and has been developed specifically for use in cats and dogs. You can purchase a starter kit from a veterinarian that will contain a monitor, a box of lancet tips, a lancet pen, a package of test strips and instructions for its use.”

Perhaps Diabetic Investor is missing the point here and Lilly is actually funding this ground breaking research as they believe it will yield new diabetes compounds which will rival Lantus or Bydureon. Given how badly the diabetes franchise is performing and the company’s rather lackluster pipeline in diabetes, we shouldn’t be too harsh as this just might be the best effort they had in years. They just might believe as Charles de Gaulle did when he said; “The better I get to know men, the more I find myself loving dogs.”

Given the follow the leader mentality of the diabetes world Diabetic Investor reached out to Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO), Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) and Merck (NYSE:MRK) to see if they too would begin their own research into dogs and diabetes. As expected none of the companies would go on the record, perhaps out of fear that they too would become the laughingstock of the diabetes world.

All Diabetic Investor can add at this point is that no one should ever wonder why we call this the wacky world of diabetes, as this is conclusive proof that anything can and does happen in the diabetes world. Ribit.