April 29, 2005

Lizard drugs

A diabetes drug derived from a poisonous lizard has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, its developers, Amylin Pharmaceuticals and Eli Lilly, said yesterday.

The drug, called Byetta, will be the first in a new class of drugs to reach the market for Type 2 diabetes, the form that usually occurs in adults. . . .

Byetta is a synthetic version of a peptide, or small protein, found in what has been variously described as the saliva or the venom of the Gila monster, a poisonous lizard that lives in the Southwest and Mexico.

Posted by Carey at April 29, 2005 10:35 PM

There are many drugs that are derived from poison. For instance, warfarin, the active ingredient in Coumadin, a blood thinner, is actually a very low dose of rat poison.

Posted by: Larry at April 30, 2005 01:23 AM

What you have to say about the lizard is all well and good, but the real question is why have you stopped linking to my blog? Have things gotten that bad because I don't really feel like a lot of the other links are that good.

Posted by: asthma at May 1, 2005 04:31 PM

Most all medicines can be poisonous if used in the wrong way; some medicines are routinely used as poisons. But that's not the point.

The point is that this drug is derived from a LIZARD. Lizards are great.

Asthma: ALL my links are great! :) Thanks for pointing out your missing blog. It must have gotten dropped the last time I reshuffled my link categories (something I need to do again soon). Anyway, your link is back!

Posted by: Carey at May 2, 2005 11:02 AM

Rats don't produce warfarin. I think it's probably a derivative of something microbes make, because it's based on a poison from clover that was being stored improperly for cattle feed. Lots of natural venoms operate by locking onto the ion channels of nerve or other cells, and lots of anesthetics (e.g. novacaine) work the same way, but I'm blanking in trying to think of drug derived from a venom. Oh yeah. Peptides make lousy drugs is why, because generally you can't make pills from them and have to inject them. But probably vast numbers of drug were discovered if not designed by inference from the action of biological venoms. Hey! Why am I doing all the scientific heavy lifting here! This ain't my blog!

Posted by: murky at May 27, 2005 04:56 PM