MannKind shares rallied 22.30% to 92 cents on Tuesday and went up another 7.50% to 99 cents in pre-market trading Wednesday amid reports that the company was exploring the sale of itself. Sources familiar with the matter told Reuters that the biopharmaceutical company is working with investment bankers on strategic options, including the potential sale. Earlier this month, shares of MannKind tumbled about 50% after its partner Sanofi terminated the contract for commercialization of Afrezza.
MannKind developing new marketing strategy
After termination of marketing deal with the French drugmaker, the Valencia-based company has been pursuing other deals. Last week, MannKind partnered with Receptor Life Sciences to develop novel inhaled therapeutic products for conditions like inflammation, pain and neurological diseases. MannKind is looking to use its Technosphere inhaler system to deliver treatment for various diseases using proprietary compounds owned by Receptor Life Sciences.
At JPMorgan Healthcare Conference on January 13, MannKind CEO Matthew Pfeffer said the company still had enough cash to operate until the second half of the year. Earlier this week, the company revealed that it has the potential to earn a meaningful milestone this year from the Receptor deal. There is also the possibility to earn royalties on successful product introductions.
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Research firm refutes sale reports
Pfeffer said at the JPMorgan conference that the company will start marketing Afrezza on its own until it finds another partner. Marketing the drug on its own will have additional costs. Griffin Securities analyst Keith Markey refuted the report of MannKind’s sale. Keith said the company made a convincing presentation about its direction and strategies at the JPMorgan conference.
MannKind’s FDA-approved inhaled insulin drug Afrezza has seen limited commercial success. However, Pfeffer sees huge potential for Technosphere. One of Technosphere’s most promising uses could be administering epinephrine to patients experiencing anaphylactic shock. “One of the advantages of the Technosphere particle is the speed at which it can deliver a drug into the blood stream,” Pfeffer said.