What Came Before MannKind?


Still down around 90% from its highs less than a decade ago, there's been no giant leap for MannKind (NAS: MNKD) shareholders. The debate rages over whether the company's revolutionary inhalable insulin, slated to go in front of the Food and Drug Administration next year, will be a complete flop or a massive blockbuster success. In a brand new premium report on MannKind, we outline every key topic investors have to know with this risky stock. Below is a short sample of what you can find in the full version.

Current treatments
Since patients with type 1 diabetes cannot produce sufficient amounts of insulin naturally, they must have insulin injections to maintain healthy blood sugar levels. Many early-stage type 2 diabetics will make changes to their diet first, but may also have to take daily doses of insulin as the disease progresses. A large number of these patients need to take long-acting insulin to regulate blood sugar levels throughout the day, supplemented by rapid-acting insulin whenever they eat a meal. Fast-acting insulins currently on the market include Novo Nordisk's (NYS: NVO) NovoLog, Sanofi's (NYS: SNY) Apidra, and Eli Lilly's (NYS: LLY) Humalog, which garnered $2.37 billion in sales for fiscal 2011.

It's important to note that all of these fast-acting insulins are administered through injections -- and anyone who's received a flu shot or donated blood can attest to the discomfort of needle pricks. So, why hasn't someone engineered alternate delivery systems for insulin that make injections obsolete?

Breathe in, breathe out
Well, Pfizer (NYS: PFE) actually did commercialize Nektar Therapeutics' (NAS: NKTR) inhalable insulin Exubera in 2006, but the product failed to impress doctors and patients alike. There were several issues that caused sales to flounder: The inhaler was massive, there wasn't enough clinical evidence to justify the higher price of this drug over injected insulins, and Pfizer's marketing strategy may have been wrong. As a result, the product was available for about a year before Pfizer decided to take it out of play and begrudgingly accept a $2.8 billion loss. Exubera's dismal sales spooked Pfizer's peers Eli Lilly and Novo Nordisk, which were working on their own inhalable insulins, and both companies canned their programs in 2008. None of the major pharma companies have made any steps to jump back into this market since.

Anyone bearish on MannKind's prospects can quickly cite Exubera's commercial failure and believe that there simply isn't a market for inhalable insulin. However, is Afrezza really just another inhalable insulin destined to fail? Learn the full story in our full premium report. It also comes with a full year of analyst updates to keep you covered as key news develops, so don't miss out -- simply click here now to claim your copy today.


The article What Came Before MannKind? originally appeared on Fool.com.

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Originally published