Appointment of Olivier Brandicourt as the new CEO of Sanofi could be a positive sign for Afrezza

MannKind shares inched up 1.19% to $6.80 in after-hours trading Tuesday after the company reported its fiscal fourth-quarter and full-year results. The biopharmaceutical company reported a net loss of $36.4 million or 9 cents a share in the fourth quarter, compared to a loss of $53.6 million or 16 cents a share in the same period a year ago. Quarterly losses were in line with the consensus estimate of a loss of 9 cents per share.

MannKind Corporation Reports In-Line Q4 Results

MannKind’s operating expenses drop 35%

MannKind’s revenues were negligible as the company launched its inhaled insulin Afrezza in the U.S. market just a few weeks ago. The Valencia-based company noted that it began the commercial production of Afrezza in the fourth quarter. MannKind CEO Hakan Edstrom said the company’s operating expenses declined 35% YoY on lower R&D costs. General and administrative costs also shrank by 29%, largely due to lower non-cash compensation expenses.

For full-year 2014, the company incurred a net loss of $198.4 million or 51 cents a share, compared to a loss of 64 cents a share in FY2013. MannKind ended 2014 with $120.8 million in cash and cash equivalents. MannKind received $50 million from its marketing partner Sanofi in milestone payments during the fourth-quarter.

At this point, MannKind is more about Afrezza than Q4 results

Sanofi and MannKind started selling Afrezza in the U.S. market on February 3. Analysts on average expect the drug to generate $182 million in annual revenue through 2019. Afrezza won the US FDA approval in June 2014. There have been concerns about the success of the drug after the high-profile failure of Pfizer’s inhaled insulin Exubera.

A lot depends on Sanofi as it will be marketing and selling Afrezza worldwide. The French drug giant has named Olivier Brandicourt as its new CEO, which may be a positive sign for MannKind. Brandicourt has experience selling inhaled insulin. He was at Pfizer when the U.S. pharmaceutical company launched Exubera. Though Exubera was pulled out of the market due to weak sales. Brandicourt is likely to have learned from Pfizer’s mistakes, so he may avoid those mistakes with Afrezza.