Drugmaker MannKind slumps after Sanofi details sales of new inhaled insulin Afrezza

IndustriesAssociated Press

Shares of MannKind stumbled Thursday after the French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi detailed low initial sales for a fast-acting, inhaled insulin developed by MannKind.

Sanofi said during its second-quarter earnings report that Afrezza brought in 2 million euros ($2.2 million) in the three months that ended June 30 and 3 million euros in the first half of the year.

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Sanofi licensed Afrezza's worldwide marketing rights from MannKind Corp., and the drugmakers launched the insulin in February.

Afrezza was approved by the Food and Drug Administration last year for patients with either Type 1 or 2 diabetes. The drugmakers launched the insulin hoping that it will appeal to millions of diabetes patients who dislike injecting insulin and want a fast-acting alternative.

Valencia, California-based MannKind has no other drugs on the market. In the first quarter this year, it reported a loss of $30.6 million on no revenue.

Its stock dropped 4.3 percent, or 19 cents, to $4.25 in midday trading Thursday.

Griffin Securities analyst Keith Markey said the decrease surprised him, since Afrezza's prescription numbers were widely known. He said sales have been hampered so far by a few factors, including minimal insurance coverage. But he expects that to change later this year, as coverage improves and the marketing focus shifts more toward consumers instead of mainly educating doctors.

"When you're talking about a very competitive market ... having insurance coverage is crucial," said Markey, who owns MannKind shares.