With each passing MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD)
earnings report and accompanying conference call it should be becoming obvious
that the issues facing the company just won’t go way. Otherwise the company would
not find it necessary to constantly repeat what everyone should know already;
Afersa® is a much better form of inhaled insulin than Exubera. The problem with
MannKind isn’t whether or not Afersa works, the problem with MannKind is the company
fails to acknowledge the marketing hurdles faced by the product should it gain
Try as they might to position Afersa as a better,
more effective form of insulin, the product will always carry with it the
stigma of Exubera. This is main reason the company has yet to secure any
partnership agreement. Thankfully today we did not hear another promise or
timeline for when such a partnership will be announced. Perhaps the company has
learned not to open their mouths on this subject as previous grandiose
statements have only lead to disappointment and embarrassment.
As it difficult as it may be to accept, the
company should come to realization that either they will have to go it alone
when Afersa gets here or change the terms of what they want from their partner.
The fact is MannKind would be in a much stronger position if they could
actually prove that Afersa has real commercial possibility. Contrary to what
many may believe Diabetic Investor actually believes that Afresa is a very good
product. The question isn’t whether or not Afersa is safe and effective, the
issue with Afersa is the size of the market. While Diabetic Investor does not
see Afersa as a blockbuster drug, there is a market for Afersa.
Unfortunately neither option provides much
relief to the company. The fact is without substantial resources Afersa may
never achieve its limited potential. Besides overcoming the Exubera stigma,
Afersa will come to market just as Victoza® and Byetta LAR are coming to
market. As we have indicated numerous times given the choice less frequent administration
trumps more frequent administration and really doesn’t matter if that
administration is performed with an injection or inhaled.
The bottom line fact is that as good as
Afersa is, it’s still insulin. Just because Afersa is inhaled rather than
injected this does not absolve patients from having to monitor their glucose
levels, monitor their food intake or take away fears of hypoglycemia. This is a
major reason why Diabetic Investor sees GLP-1 therapy as nearly perfect for
patients with type 2 diabetes. Drugs such as Victoza, Byetta and Byetta LAR are
not dose dependent, there is little fear of hypoglycemia and there is the
additional benefit of weight loss. This ease of use factor only enhances the
strong profile of these drugs.
These are the facts and as Alain-Rene’
Lesage said; “Facts are stubborn things.”