Back in October, I said that Mannkind (MNKD) “looks doomed”. To be honest, you could have said that about them and their inhaled-insulin drug Afrezza for many years, with a good chance of being right – I said it back in 2008, for example. And it’s not that I’m some sort of prophet. I mean, there have been so many things to doubt over the years that a person tends to lose count. I have to admit that I was amazed when Sanofi partnered with them on the stuff.
But as quarter after quarter has gone by, it’s become clear that Afrezza is not selling. It just isn’t. There doesn’t seem to be a market, which was the same problem that Pfizer discovered in their catastrophic experience with Exubera. Not enough people seem to want (or need) an inhaled insulin to make the development of an inhaled insulin worthwhile, and arguing with that proposition has been increasingly costly.
This morning, Sanofi terminated their agreement with Mannkind. The company is very close indeed to running out of money, and anyone who wants to go on with Afrezza is going to have to find a way to pay for a big post-launch safety trial. As Adam Feuerstein puts it in that link, “The financial challenges facing the company now are just about insurmountable“. But the MNKD cultists, some of them anyway, are still hanging on. I took a look through Twitter a while ago, searching $MNKD, and sure enough, there are people out there going on about how this is bullish news, Sanofi wasn’t even trying, Mannkind wanted to ditch them so that Afrezza could really take off, and so on and very much so on. The stock actually crept up a bit after the initial drop on the news. Idiotic conspiracy theories are already being proposed.
This is all delusional. (As Phillip II wrote in the margin of a report from one of his men that the Armada had actually survived and was regrouping to attack England, “Nothing of this is true. It would be well to tell him so”) It would be well if the people who are trying to convince themselves to keep buying Mannkind stock would give it up while they still have at least a tiny bit of their money left. It would have been better to have avoided the stock from the start, but the kind of person who wears an Al Mann t-shirt would surely have handed over their cash to some other lost cause by now, anyway.
Update: fixed the stock symbol. I’m going to blame that one on the fever I’ve got today. . .
Update 2: fixed the Phillip II quote, which my memory had slightly reworded. But since I last read Mattingly’s “The Armada” in 1982, I don’t feel that bad about it!