When one door closes…

MannKind and Sanofi announced the end of their Afrezza partnership. What happened?

News came last week that MannKind and Sanofi are ending their Afrezza partnership.

Afrezza, in case you don’t know, is a fast-acting insulin that is inhaled. Look ma, no needles! Instead of a needle poke you take several deep breaths. That has a certain appeal among the people getting poked.

There was some fanfare when Afrezza was approved by the FDA, and it even generated some Internet buzz. So what happened?

Sales were disappointing.

Afrezza had become the poster child for the complexities of introducing a new treatment to the market. It was proven effective. It received FDA approval. Doctors and patients were educated about its benefits and limitations; Afrezza can’t be used by people with asthma or lung ailments. But was Afrezza being stocked by pharmacies? And, more importantly, was it added to any of the payer formularies? Meaning, would any┬áhealth insurance companies pay for it?

Success in pharma requires every step in the process of introducing a new treatment be successful. Afrezza was oh so close.

Meanwhile, every person using insulin continues to to poke themselves…daily…several times.


Update: On January 21, 2016 MannKind announced it has entered into a collaboration and license agreement with a newly formed entity, Receptor Life Sciences, Inc.