Exubera, A step closer
Yesterday shares of Nektar Therapeutics (NASDAQ:NKTR) rose 3% on news that FDA has scheduled a panel meeting for September 8th, to discuss Exubera. (Exubera is a form of inhaled insulin.) Partnered with Nektar on Exubera are drug giants Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE:SNY). While it is encouraging that the FDA has set a panel meeting this does not mean that approval is a forgone conclusion. Exubera has a long and checkered history, well documented by Diabetic Investor.
Should the FDA grant approval Diabetic Investor would advise Nektar shareholders to sell their shares as Exubera does not have a bright commercial future. Once touted as $3 billion drug, Exubera’s past problems have not gone unnoticed by physicians. At this years ADA show in San Diego Diabetic Investor spoke with several physicians on the prospects for inhaled insulin and Exubera in particular. Not surprisingly everyone liked the concept of a non-injectable form of insulin. However, there was near universal agreement that Exubera would have a limited appeal.
The fact of the matter is Exubera really doesn’t work that well and there are several new drugs on market that do a much better job helping patients achieve good control. One day people with diabetes may be able to take insulin in another form other than injection. That day however has not arrived. Investors beware.