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Amylin's Leap of Faith

Executive Summary

Unceremoniously dumped by its partner Johnson & Johnson in early 1998, Amylin struggled to carry on developing amylin--a hormone once hyped as "the missing link" in diabetes treatment. After twice failing to produce clinical evidence that the peptide benefitted diabetic patients, Amylin laid off 80% of its employees, and fell off Nasdaq's big board. Most investors dismissed the company, and their stake in it, as a lost cause. Amylin got a second chance in March 1999, via a private Series A financing. It's too soon to say whether the leap of faith by Amylin's new investors will be rewarded. The firm's aspirations for its lead drug are more modest now than in earlier days. It has no partner, and knows uncertainty still exists in the FDA process. Meanwhile, competitors' oral drugs are helping many Type 2 diabetics.

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