MannKind Corp. announced on Tuesday that its Afrezza brand of inhalable insulin is now available by prescription at U.S. pharmacies.
The Valencia biotech obtained approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to sell Afrezza in June, and in August signed a global marketing and distribution deal with Sanofi, a French pharmaceutical company based in Paris.
Afrezza is a drug-device combination that consists of a powder version of human insulin delivered from a small inhaler. It is administered at the beginning of a meal. It is being priced at $7.54 per daily dose, about twice the cost of injectable insulin.
The drug is being manufacturing at MannKind’s plant in Danbury, Conn. from recombinant insulin made by another French company, Amphastar France Pharmaceuticals S.A.S. Analysts expect annual sales of about $180 million, given recommendations it not be given to asthma patients and smokers.
Billionaire Alfred Mann founded MannKind in 1991 and bankrolled much of the development for Afrezza, the company’s first commercial product. Mann, 89, owns about 40 percent of the company’s stock and holds the title of executive chairman.
“We are extremely proud to see the many years of work that went into developing Afrezza culminate in the day when it is now available to help people manage their diabetes,” Mann said in a prepared statement.
Shares closed up 7 cents, or 1 percent, to $6.50 on the Nasdaq.