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Friday, 16 November, 2007

Inhaled insulin gasps for breath

Despite the demise of the insulin inhaler Exubera last month due to disappointing sales, its developer, Nektar Therapeutics, is promising to revive the puffer.

Nektar has now regained the rights from Pfizer. They're planning improvements to the puffer (including making the apparatus less bulky) and are looking for a new partner to help them get it back on the market.

Meanwhile, the Exubera flap has cooled the ardour of other developers. reports that while Novo Nordisk A/S is moving ahead with plans to bring out its own insulin puffer, AERx, the launch will be delayed by a couple of years. "The market potential for inhaled insulin is significantly lower than expectations in recent years, but inhaled insulin is still part of the home turf of Novo, a diabetes specialist," noted Novo's CFO Jesper Brandgaard.

But others are forging valiantly ahead. Billionaire Alfred E Mann, CEO of MannKind Corporation, just announced he'll invest nearly $1 billion of his own money into the company to develop Technosphere Insulin, a lighter, cell-phone sized form of insulin inhaler, according to a .

Pharmaceutical giant , in clinical trials right now and hopes to have it market ready by 2010.

I reported on the , including the inhaled and sprayed formulations, in the latest issue of NRM.

Photo: Reuters/John Sommers

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