MannKind shares plunge on renewed doubts about Afresa

Up until Tuesday, MannKind Corp. had been confidently predicting that it would have a deep-pocket partner all lined up for its inhaled insulin therapy Afresa by the end of the year. Yesterday, the company deeply disappointed the faithful in the investment community with its revised timetable, outlined in the company's 8K. Now, the developer says it doesn't expect a deal until after Afresa is approved. And its executives sounded an alarm to some by voicing their caution when asked if they expected the FDA to grant a full approval by the PDUFA date of January 16.

Its stock plunged 30 percent on the news and analysts, many of whom harbor some deep skepticism about the potential of inhaled insulin products, didn't seem all that surprised. "Six months ago, the consensus was that this company was going to go bankrupt," said Larry Feinberg, who runs Oracle Investment Management.

MannKind hasn't gone bankrupt because of its high-profile founder, 83-year-old Alfred Mann (photo), who pioneered the pacemaker and grew fabulously wealthy. Now the billionaire is putting some of that wealth behind MannKind, and he isn't sweating--publicly.  

"We have enough cash in the bank to last us until well into the first quarter of 2011, so there is no panic," Mann told Reuters. "We want to get the right deal done at the right price."

- read the story from TheStreet
- here's the Reuters piece

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