MannKind waves 'au revoir' to Sanofi as it regains Afrezza rights

By Dan Stanton

- Last updated on GMT

Image: iStock/designer491
Image: iStock/designer491

Related tags Pharma giant sanofi Biopharmaceutics classification system

The rights to inhaled insulin drug Afrezza have returned to Mannkind Corporation, three months after Sanofi terminated its commercialisation deal.

In January​, French Pharma giant Sanofi abandoned its partnership with MannKind following ten months of low sales of the insulin product.

MannKind vowed to continue selling the product itself​, using social media and patient advocacy groups to help market the alternative to daily injections for insulin users, and yesterday the firm announced it has taken back responsibility for the Afrezza’s development and commercialisation worldwide.

While some investors​ are sceptical of MannKind’s ability to resurrect itself and its product following Sanofi’s pull-out, new CEO Matthew Pfeffer remained positive, describing the return of the rights as a “landmark”​ in a press release.

“We are thrilled to begin the process of making Afrezza the successful mealtime treatment for people with diabetes that we always believed it would be,”​ he continued, adding that details regarding Afrezza’s future, commercial team, and patient and physician resources will be rolled out over the coming weeks.

As part of a recovery and future growth, MannKind is also looking to license Afrezza’s Technosphere delivery platform to increase bioavailability and offer a more convenient administration of other active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs).

The platform uses the excipient fumaryl diketopiperazine (FDKP) which is highly soluble at pH 6.0 - the prevailing physiological pH in the lungs - in order to avoid both hepatic first pass metabolism and degradation in peripheral circulation in the delivery of an API.

In late January, the firm announced it had entered into a deal which will see Seattle, Washington-based Receptor Life Science – an unknown, but “wholly independent entity unaffiliated with MannKind”​ – use the platform across multiple inhaled therapeutic candidates.

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