One last stand

One last stand

Frankly Diabetic Investor is a little surprised that it took this long for a MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) supporter to pen a piece telling everyone why MannKind is still a good investment. That why after losing almost 50% of its value over the past three months shares of MannKind are a good investment. That why investors should continue to believe that Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) will do something they have only done once and actually have a successful diabetes drug that isn’t named Lantus.

Given the ragging war of words between Diabetic Investor and MannKind supporters on twitter we were also hoping whoever pens this piece would be more creative than the folks on twitter. We admire the passion these people have however the fact that a small number of Afrezza users like the product in no way means Afrezza will become a blockbuster. As we have said many times the Afrezza story isn’t one of whether it works or not, it does. The Afrezza story is whether it can become commercially successful.

This is why we were delighted to read a piece entitled “MannKind Stock – This Will Grow Despite Downgrades” by that noted author none other than Joshua Rodriguez. Now this isn’t the first time we’ve heard from Josh and quite frankly we were truly hoping to hear from Ken and Gomer, but since Ken and Gomer have gone silent on the subject we’ll take what we can get.

Here is just some of what Josh had to say;

“MannKind stock has had a bad run over the last few months. Following a Goldman Sachs downgrade a while back, the stock plummeted; and we’ve seen the same thing this week following a JPMorgan downgrade. However, I’ve got to be honest here…I still see MannKind as a long term gainer despite the recent analyst downgrades that have been driving the stock down.”

Well Josh does have one thing right MannKind shares have been hammered these past few months as we noted earlier.

“First off, I’d like to point out that Afrezza isn’t necessarily getting a fair shake when it comes to sales. The simple fact is that the insulin can’t be prescribed like most other insulin. Instead, if a patient wants to be prescribed Afrezza, they’ll need to jump through hoops set in place by the FDA. Also, MNKD and Sanofi Inc (NYSE: SNY) haven’t started really marketing the drug quite yet. There have been no commercials, no print ads, nothing! However, I think that they may be waiting on this until labeling issues are worked out.”

Yep we keep hearing this over and over, that Afrezza sales will skyrocket once Sanofi starts the direct to consumer ad campaign.  That sales will improve as Sanofi communicates more effectively with physicians. In essence what many MannKind supporters believe is that Sanofi can do something they didn’t do with Apidra or the iBGStar, successfully launch a diabetes product that isn’t named Lantus.

“Beyond the fact that there are clear roadblocks in place currently that will slow sales of Afrezza, the inhaled insulin represents far more than a single drug. The technology used to deliver the insulin through the inhaled powder is expected to be effective in delivering a wide range of medications that are only currently administered via injection. This technology could have incredible implications for the medical industry as a whole in the future.”

Yep this is classic. This is like Insulet (NASDAQ:PODD) telling everyone that their system can deliver more than insulin, that other drugs can be delivered with the OmniPod. These statements are true however they assume these companies will be around long enough to make these new applications a reality. Here Insulet no matter how bad things have been lately is in far better financial shape than MannKind. As much as MannKind supporters hate to admit it this is a one trick pony and that pony may be headed for the glue factory.

As we said earlier it would have been great to hear from Ken and Gomer but we’ll take what we can get.

When the final chapter is written in this saga it will show just how wacky this world has become. That just because a drug has some therapeutic benefits this does not automatically mean the drug will be commercially successful.  That it takes more than a novel delivery system that things like formulary position do matter.

Still let’s give Josh credit as unlike Ken and Gomer he has not gone radio silent. A silence which is deafening.