Sanofi Pulls Plug on Afrezza Deal, Putting Drug's Future in Doubt

Shockingly poor sales have led Sanofi to opt out of its deal to sell the inhalable insulin Afrezza for the company that developed it, a move that led shares of California-based Mannkind to fall 48% yesterday despite management’s promise to find a more effective marketing partner.

Shockingly poor sales have led Sanofi to opt out of its deal to sell the inhalable insulin Afrezza for the company that developed it, a move that led shares of California-based Mannkind to fall 48% yesterday despite management’s promise to find a more effective marketing partner.

The 2 companies have pledged to try and keep the drug available while they work together to ensure a smooth transition over the next 90 to 180 days. Indeed, a Sanofi spokeswoman wrote in an email that the French drugmaker will keep supporting Afrezza on a number of fronts.

“Sanofi will, until the date of termination, continue to work with key national plans reviewing Afrezza in the hopes that they will continue including the product when making formulary decisions,” spokeswoman Susan Brooks wrote.

New deals to put Afrezza on payer formularies could provide a significant boost for Mannkind’s efforts to find a new partner and make its drug a success. Some analysts believe that the single biggest reason for Afrezza’s disappointing sales to date has been the nearly universal need for would-be users to get prior authorization before filling a prescription for the drug.

Still, despite such hurdles, Mannkind’s leadership says that Afrezza can still be the big seller that many people once expected it to be.

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