MannKind’s inhaled insulin treatment Afrezza has been in the market for over four months. But its sales have been below expectations. The biopharmaceutical firm sold only $1.1 million worth of Afrezza in the first two months of launch. Jefferies analysts expect Afrezza sales to pick up in the third-quarter as MannKind and its marketing partner Sanofi gear up to launch an extensive advertising campaign.

MannKind Corporation's Pain Management Plans: Looking Back

MannKind plans to expand its Technosphere to pain management

Meanwhile, the Valencia-based company has said on various occasions that it would expand the use of its Technosphere technology in the pain management market. At the company’s Q1, 2015 conference call, MannKind CEO Hakan Edstrom said that the company would make a material progress in this direction within 12-18 months. He specifically mentioned migraines, a lucrative market considering over 37 million U.S. citizens suffer from migraines.

However, MannKind is not the first or only company looking to explore this market, notes Seeking Alpha contributor Looking For Diogenes. Today, the most commonly used treatment for migraines is triptan under different brand names, which was first introduced in 1990s. Triptan is already available in the forms of pills, injections, needleless injections, nasal sprays, and rectal suppositories.

Besides impacting blood vessels in the brain, triptan also causes constrictions in the arteries in the heart. That’s why MannKind might be concerned with the expansion of triptan or any other inhaled drug for migraine in a user’s lungs. In the past, MAP Pharmaceuticals, NuPathe, Teva Pharma, Alder Biopharmaceuticals and others have experimented with various migraine molecules, but without much success.

MannKind’s former partner still struggling

While MannKind continues to reiterate that it would expand its Technosphere into pain management category, it has already tried doing that via a partnership. In February 2012, MannKind partnered with Torrey Pines Institute for Molecular Studies to develop what was described as a breakthrough in pain medication.

The drug was supposed to use MannKind’s proprietary technology for dosing. Three years later, the Torrey Pines Institute is still struggling to recover from the recession. The clinical trials of the “pretty marvelous” medication were supposed to begin in 2013. MannKind has avoided mentioning that project while telling investors about its ambitious plans to get into the pain medication category.