Friday, March 07, 2008

Dead AIR?

Alkermes said today that it expects Eli Lilly to discontinue the companies' AIR Insulin collaboration:

Lilly has informed Alkermes that it is evaluating its business case for AIR Insulin and Alkermes expects Lilly to make a decision to discontinue the program in the next week. Alkermes is not aware of any safety, efficacy, or manufacturing issues that have arisen regarding AIR Insulin since Lilly’s last public update on the program.

Loyal IN VIVO Blog readers won't be completely shocked--over the past few months in our writing and reporting on the demise of Exubera we've noted repeatedly the current difficulties associated with drug delivery in general and the problems with succeeding with inhaled insulin specifically.

We expect Lilly is treating Alkermes a bit better than Pfizer treated Nektar--perhaps avoiding some Howard Robin-esque harsh words and a $135 million "i'm sorry" payment.

Since this is Lilly's proprietary insulin, Alkermes presumably isn't even getting back a partnerable asset on the cusp of finishing Phase III development, with a means of delivery much more discreet than the much-maligned Exubera inhaler.

Your move, Mannkind.

UPDATE: It's official, says Lilly.


Anonymous said...

Would that just leave MannKind still in the game...?

Chris Morrison said...

No, not quite. DOn't forget about Nektar, which is still trying to partner Exubera. And Abbott has a program as well, via their acquisition of Kos.