A sign of the times

A sign of the times

As the city of Chicago prepares to welcome the diabetes world, and tries to recover from two thrilling Stanley Cup games, some interesting tidbits are emerging even before the show begins. Looking at the list of companies who will be exhibiting at the conference two names are noticeably absent – neither Abbott (NYSE:ABT) or Bayer have exhibit space. Now before everyone starts speculating that either company is about to exit the glucose monitoring market, although this would be in their best interest, this lack of enthusiasm for the conference is just another sign of how bad things have become in the BGM market.

Diabetic Investor is actually a little more surprised that Abbott has decided not to exhibit as Chicago is home to their global headquarters. Yep, about an hour or so northwest of the city in the beautiful suburb of Libertyville, Illinois sits the Abbott corporate campus. Yes it is here that the company decided to acquire not one but two BGM companies both of which they basically destroyed.

Also likely to make some news at the conference is MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD), as we reported not long ago MannKind’s stock has been on a tear and today the company announced they have completed a Phase 3 clinical study for Afrezza®. According to a company issued press release; “Study 175 assessed AFREZZA using the next-generation inhaler in patients with type 2 diabetes whose disease is inadequately controlled on metformin with or without a second or third oral medication. After a run-in period during which the subjects remained on their oral medication, 353 patients were randomized to additional treatment with AFREZZA or to Technosphere® inhalation powder (placebo). The study also had a titration period, followed by a 12-week evaluation period to assess HbA1c levels.”

Now never mind that the company did not release the results of this study, when it comes to MannKind such details are really immaterial. The simple fact is Al Mann, the company’s founder and main source of funding, will do whatever he has too to get this company sold. While Diabetic Investor believes any company dumb enough to buy MannKind deserves the ultimate Corporate Frog award, this is the wacky world of diabetes where anything can and usually does happen. Don’t be surprised if during the show rumors circulate that Novo Nordisk (NYSE:NVO) is the likely suitor and that the company is willing to spend billions to acquire Afrezza a product which even at its peak would only generate millions in sales.

Frankly Diabetic Investor is impressed that MannKind has made it this far, now this is in large part due to Mann’s willingness to turn his large personal fortune into a small one.  It’s also conclusive proof that when it comes to investing in diabetes technology whether it be a non-invasive glucose monitoring system or alternate non-injectable insulin delivery, there are hundreds if not thousands of investors  who are too lazy or just plain too stupid to do their due diligence and willingly invest their money into these companies.

Diabetic Investor would advise these foolish and very lucky investors in MannKind with the stock soaring now would be the time to get out while the going is still good. That MannKind has been down this road before only to crash and burn but when it comes to MannKind stakeholders they are true believers who see Mann taking them to the promised land. It’s been said before but with MannKind it bears repeating there is no cure for stupid.

Speaking of stupid, Diabetic Investor is hearing some interesting rumblings coming from the folks at Bristol Myers Squibb (NYSE:BMS), the new owners of Bydureon. Just the other day Diabetic Investor mentioned that Bristol for reasons which are only known to them is ignoring Bydureon. Now word comes that no the company isn’t ignoring Bydureon but planning on an all-out sales effort which will involve not just the Bristol sales team but several contract sales forces as well. Yes the multiple cross functional, more like convoluted sales structure is how Bristol seeks to maximize Bydureon’ s value.

Here too everyone shouldn’t get all that excited or condemn their efforts before they have a chance to prove themselves. After all this is the same team that took a me-too, copycat late to market drug Onglyza to market which now holds the distinct honor of being of second in the DPP4 market to the mega blockbuster Januvia. Never mind that Onglyza isn’t even within spitting distance  of Januvia or that the only reason this drug even survived is because Bristol provided major rebates and discounts.

Perhaps this why Diabetic Investor has the feeling that Bristol will follow the well-worn path of other companies who acquired a promising diabetes technology, didn’t really know what to do with it after they got it and eventually turned gold into sand. RIBIT!!!!!