MannKind shares have declined more than 27% in the last three months and analysts are increasingly turning bearish on the stock. But the company management remains optimistic about Afrezza sales prospects. The Valencia-based bio-pharmaceutical company is tripling its production capacity at Danbury plant amid expectations that Afrezza sales will continue to increase.
MannKind encouraged by customer reaction
MannKind CFO Matt Pfeffer told Danbury News Times that the company will expand the production to three manufacturing lines during this quarter. Currently, the Danbury plant has only one production line with a capacity of 120 million Afrezza cartridges per year. The new production lines would triple the capacity to about 360 million cartridges. The plant was designed for up to 12 manufacturing lines.
Pfeffer admitted that Afrezza launch was “going slow as expected.” But customer reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, he said. Many patients described the drug as a “real game-changer” while some others said MannKind CEO Alfred Mann was “an American hero.” The company was encouraged to see the difference Afrezza is making in people’s lives.
Afrezza won the U.S. FDA approval in June 2014, and hit the store shelves in February 2015. MannKind teamed up with French drugmaker Sanofi to market the drug. Since it is an inhaled insulin, Afrezza eliminates the need to take mealtime insulin injections. Also, it acts much faster than injectable insulin because it is absorbed in the lungs.
MannKind to launch 12-unit cartridge of Afrezza
MannKind announced Monday that it would start production of a 12-unit cartridge strength that was approved by the FDA on April 17th. The 12-unit cartridges will hit the stores in the second half of this year. MannKind currently offers 4-unit and 8-unit dosage strength to provide patients a variety of dosing options. MannKind hopes that more people will turn to Afrezza as they become aware of its benefits.
MannKind shares rose 0.65% to $4.62 in pre-market trading Tuesday. The stock has declined more than 54% from its June 2014 high of $11.