Eli Lilly, Humana partner on crunching diabetes data

Eli Lilly ($LLY) and Humana ($HUM) have teamed up to analyze various data sets to understand disease outcomes, starting with Type 2 diabetes, the companies announced this morning.

The multiyear collaboration aims to slice and dice deidentified patient data from pharmacy and lab claims, medical records and other sources. With an eye toward improving healthcare quality and outcomes, the alliance will use research algorithms to understand patient behaviors and attitudes.

As both companies have major interests in treating the disease, diabetes makes sense as a starting point for the retrospective analyses in the collaboration. Lilly has banked on new diabetes therapies to revive the beleaguered drug giant's pharmaceuticals business. And with diabetes rates rising fast around the world, Humana, a major provider of health insurance, faces concerns about the mounting costs of treating the disease.

"We are pleased to partner with Humana on research that will help benefit patients facing a variety of diseases, including diabetes," said Dr. Dara Schuster, a medical fellow at Lilly Diabetes. "Working together, we hope to provide patients with insights and guidance that will help them tailor their care to best match their individual needs."

Diabetes patients risk a range of health threats from failing to control their blood sugar with the arsenal of drugs, diets and lifestyle strategies at their disposal. Poor adherence to medications has been one of the contributors to bad health outcomes in diabetes patients, leading to increased costs too. Lilly and Humana say they want to better understand these problems through their analyses.

For Lilly, the results of the analyses could bolster its case for treatment on its longer-lasting diabetes drugs, which arguably combat the risk of poor adherence because patients don't have to take them as often as other therapies.

- here's the release