What can they possibly say?
Today must be the day for wacky diabetes news as besides the announcement from VeraLight, we also learned today that MannKind (NASDAQ:MNKD) will be presenting at some upcoming healthcare conferences. The key question is what the company can possibly say that is relevant. Has anything really changed?
With their earnings announcement set for May 9th, Diabetic Investor suspects the MannKind message will follow their standard line; “Hey things really aren’t as bleak as they appear. We’ll soon have an answer from the FDA and you’ll see everything is just fine; after all this is a multi-billion product that will forever change diabetes management.”
Another strange but true fact regarding MannKind is that like non-invasive companies they continue to find people willing to buy their stock. While shares continue to trade below $4, they have rebounded somewhat from recent lows. This trading could be just be covering by investors who shorted the stock but given the volume of trading short covering alone does not explain the slow rise in MannKind’s share price.
Diabetic Investor suspect’s investors are holding out hope that someone will come along and buy the company while it’s trading at depressed prices. This assumes of course that there is something worth buying and there is a company willing to risk an investment for an unapproved, unproven product. Given all the issues facing the company and the ultra-conservative nature of the FDA, Diabetic Investor doubts that any company would take such a huge risk even at this much lower valuation.
When the final obituary is written for MannKind, an event that could come sooner rather than later, it will be a story much like that of non-invasive companies, where millions have been wasted on a dubious product. Like non-invasive, inhaled insulin has always been a story based on good sounding theory. Just as it seems obvious patients would prefer not to prick their fingers to perform a glucose test, it’s seems equally obvious that patients would prefer to inhale rather than inject their insulin. This fundamentally has been the problem all along as the reason more patients, type 2 patients in particular, don’t use insulin has much more to do with insulin itself rather than how the insulin is delivered.
To his credit Al Mann, the company’s founder and primary investor, has maintained that Afrezza™ is better insulin that just happens to be inhaled rather than injected. Yet even with his vast fortune and deep diabetes experience Mr. Mann could not have anticipated how the market for inhaled insulin would evaporate before his eyes. The true shame here is had Mr. Mann directed his fortune to diabetes research rather than MannKind, the diabetes world would be a much better place.
As Christopher Hitchens wrote back in 1996; “There is a good reason the words “shameful” and “shameless” define the same conduct. You know you’ve behaved shamefully if you have exposed other people to needless annoyance or embarrassment. You don’t know you’ve behaved shamelessly if you don’t get this point.”