MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ:MNKD) announced Tuesday that it would present at the Morgan Stanley Global Healthcare Conference. The event is scheduled for September 8-10 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in New York City. MannKind will present on September 9 at 12:55 PM EDT. You can watch the live webcast of the presentation using this link.
MannKind recently signed a deal with Sanofi SA (ADR) (NYSE:SNY) (EPA:SAN) to sell its diabetes drug Afrezza worldwide. The French pharmaceutical giant would pay MannKind $925 million for the worldwide licensing rights of Afrezza. Shares of the U.S. biopharmaceutical company have declined 33% since Afrezza won the U.S. FDA approval.
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It clearly shows bearish sentiment about the deal with Sanofi and the upcoming launch of the drug. Patients with lung diseases or smoking habits can’t use the drug. Other concerns include doctors not prescribing Afrezza as a first-line insulin. Amid the negative sentiment, some research firms are taking contrarian positions ahead of the Afrezza launch in early 2015.
Last week, Jefferies analyst Shaunak Deepak initiated coverage on MannKind with a Buy rating and $10 price target. Deepak believes Afrezza could boost mealtime insulin use. MannKind’s drug is likely to address the unmet need of patients poorly controlled with oral drugs, who haven’t yet advanced to injectable agents. Jefferies estimates that about 8% Type-2 diabetes patients would use Afrezza as a first-line insulin. On that basis, U.S. sales of Afrezza could peak at $1.6 billion, and worldwide sales could reach $3.2 billion.
Sanofi is the right partner for MannKind
Moreover, Sanofi has five principal drugs in diabetes. However, its most successful diabetes treatment Lantus will go off-patent next year. Lantus generated about $7.6 billion in revenue from more than 120 countries last year. Jefferies says Sanofi will market Afrezza as a first-line insulin to retain and gain market share. Brinson Patrick analyst Christopher James says the French company will put its might behind Afrezza. Sanofi’s international presence will give MannKind’s product a broader potential market.
MannKind shares fell 1.73% to $7.09 at 12:56 PM EDT on Wednesday.