Biotech firm took unprecedented path

A pharmaceutical firm that Greenwood found in default over repayment of incentives was attempting a feat that no other business has accomplished: getting federal approval for a generic biological drug.

Elona Biotechnologies had trouble attracting investors in its bid to become the first company to get U.S. Food and Drug Administration approval to sell a generic version of insulin, Greenwood Mayor Mark Myers said. The approval was a crucial step for Elona and, until they got it, they had no product to bring in the level of income that they would have needed to repay the city’s $6.4 million loan for a new generic insulin production facility.

No generic biological drugs have been approved yet for sale in the United States, although a few have been allowed in Europe, FDA spokeswoman Sandy Walsh said.

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